The World Health Organization’s annual World Health Day will be held 7 April, and will tackle the growing global issue of #diabetes.
- Increase awareness about the rise in diabetes, and its staggering burden and consequences, in particular in low-and middle-income countries.
- Trigger a set of specific, effective and affordable actions to tackle diabetes. These will include steps to prevent diabetes and diagnose, treat and care for people with diabetes.
- Launch the first global report on diabetes, which will describe the burden and consequences of diabetes and advocate for stronger health systems to ensure improved surveillance, enhanced prevention, and more effective management of diabetes1.
That’s because diabetes has become one of the major causes of premature illness and death in most countries, mainly through the increased risk of cardiovascular disease — which itself is responsible for 50–80% of deaths in people with diabetes2. Eighty percent of diabetes deaths occur in developing countries, where the population most frequently affected is between 35 and 642. This means people at relatively young ages are not only dying due to diabetes, but also living with other conditions caused by diabetes, including blindness, lower-limb amputation and kidney failure. Furthermore, reports of type 2 diabetes in children, considered a rare condition in the past, now account for nearly half of newly diagnosed cases in children and adolescents2.
However, type 2 diabetes is preventable. It’s a chronic disease that occurs either when the pancreas does not produce enough insulin (which regulates blood sugar) or when the body cannot effectively use the insulin it produces. If the cells do not react to insulin properly, by absorbing enough sugar from the blood, glucose builds up to harmful levels. Thus, simple lifestyle measures can be implemented to prevent, delay or help manage type 2 diabetes in many cases: maintaining normal body weight, engaging in regular physical activity and eating a healthy diet.
Take the WHO’s quiz to find out how much you know about diabetes. Then join the effort to raise awareness, increase access to diagnosis, spread the word on self-management education, and more with a variety of World Health Day 2016 resources.
1. World Health Organization. World Health Day 2016: Beat Diabetes. Accessed March 2016 at: http://www.who.int/campaigns/world-health-day/2016/event/en/
2. World Health Organization. 10 Facts About Diabetes. Accessed March 2016 at: http://www.who.int/features/factfiles/diabetes/facts/en/