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World Diabetes Day 2014 - Healthy Living and Diabetes

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World Diabetes Day 2014 - Healthy Living and Diabetes

The World Diabetes Day (WDD) is a global awareness campaign for diabetes and is observed annually on November 14, by the International Diabetes Federation (IDF) and its member associations. November 14 was specially selected to mark the birth anniversary of Frederick Banting who along with Charles Best played an important role in the discovery of insulin. The WDD engages millions of people worldwide to spread awareness of diabetes.

The theme of World Diabetes Day for 2014-2016 is Healthy Living and Diabetes. Therefore, during this period all WDD activities and materials will focus on the importance of healthy eating in the prevention of type 2 diabetes as well as the effective management of diabetes to prevent complications. As always, campaign activities will continue to be informed by the slogan "Diabetes: protect our future."


On World Diabetes Day, it is expected that millions of people across the world will come together and take the steps necessary for leading a healthier life. Some of the activities organized on this day will include: radio and television programs, sports events, press conferences, newspaper and magazine articles, walkathons, cycle races, public information meetings etc.

Diabetes, or 'diabetes mellitus' in medical terms, is a metabolic disease which results higher than normal levels of sugar in the blood. Normally the hormone insulin regulates blood sugar levels in our bodies. In type 1 diabetes the body does not produce adequate amount of insulin, while in type 2 diabetes the body's cells do not respond properly to insulin. Diabetic patients will typically experience symptoms such as polyuria (frequent urination), polydipsia (frequent thirst) and polyphagia (excessive hunger). What is particularly problematic is the fact that globally nearly 50 percent of people with diabetes remain undiagnosed and therefore untreated.

According to the IDF Diabetes Atlas, it is estimated that currently about 382 million people are afflicted with diabetes worldwide. If this trend continues, then by 2035, it is estimated that as high as 592 million people or one person in ten will suffer from this disease. Research has also shown that currently nearly 316 million people are at high risk of developing type 2 diabetes and this number is expected to increase to almost 500 million within a generation.

Most cases of type 2 diabetes can be prevented and the serious complications of diabetes can be avoided if one adopts a healthy lifestyle and living environments that in turn facilitate healthy behavior. Thus the campaign aims to raise awareness of how individuals can make informed decisions about what they choose to eat and how they choose to live. Special focus will be given to starting your day with a good healthy breakfast.

Tips for Healthy Living with Diabetes:
  • Make sure you adopt a balanced diet that is low overall in fat, salt and sugar content. It should include a good mix of fruits, vegetables and whole-grains that supply your daily requirement of protein, carbohydrates and fat. High calorie, sugary and fatty foods should be avoided or consumed in moderation.

  • Foods with high carbohydrate content have the biggest impact on your blood sugar levels, so try and limit the consumption of such foods.

  • Consume food in moderation. Too little food may result in dangerously low blood sugar levels known as hypoglycemia. Too much food may cause your blood sugar level to shoot up too high, which is known as hyperglycemia.

  • Try to maintain the ideal body weight for your height and gender. This will not only help control your blood glucose level but your blood pressure and cholesterol as well.

  • Remember to take all prescribed medications daily and coordinate your meal and medication schedules. Consult your doctor - as he is be the best person to guide you in this regard.

  • Smoking greatly increases your risk of heart disease and stroke, so try to quit smoking if you are a smoker.

  • Stay active and exercise for at least 30 minutes daily. This will help you maintain a healthy body weight and improve your general health. If you don't like going to the gym, remember that there are plenty of other ways to exercise, such as brisk walking, light jogging, gardening or any activity that gently raises your heart rate.

  • Take good care of your feet since nerve damage due to diabetes most commonly affects the foot.

  • Ensure that you keep all appointments with your physician. Regular blood sugar check-ups once every 3-6 months, or as deemed necessary by your physician are vital in managing your diabetes.

Diabetes can change your life and slow you down, but it surely doesn't have to stop you. If we all work together, we can prevent diabetes and overcome its challenges. So on this World Diabetes Day, let us all pledge to take good care of ourselves and adopt healthy lifestyles. By doing so and spreading awareness we can prevent diabetes and lead long and healthy lives.


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