This year, World Diabetes Day turns 28: it was way back in 1991 that the International Diabetes Federation and the World Health Organization picked 14 November as the official date to raise awareness about diabetes. Let’s find out more about the activities and the issues highlighted this year.
HOW IT STARTED
Frederick Grant Banting was born in Canada on 14 November 1891: at the time, nobody could imagine he would revolutionize the world of physiology and medicine – but after discovering and isolating insulin with colleagues Charles Herbert Best, J. R. Macleod and Clark Noble, he was awarded the Nobel Prize at the young age of 32. It was a crucial step forward in the cure and management of diabetes, which until then had made tens of thousands of victims all around the world, especially amongst children.
In Banting’s honor, in 1991 the International Diabetes Federation and the World Health Organization decided to create World Diabetes Day, to encourage member States to develop national policies for the prevention, treatment and cure of diabetes in step with the sustainable development of their health systems.
Also thanks to the engagement of non-profit organizations in various countries, the yearly event has become a moment to come together globally to discuss, update and learn more about a condition that is still too often underestimated.
2019 WORLD DIABETES DAY: PROTECT YOUR FAMILY
This year’s edition is obviously focused on people who face diabetes every day, but also highlights how important it is to quickly spot early signs of the condition. A timely diagnosis is crucial to protect ourselves and our loved ones, and guarantees the best measures can be taken.
The 2019 World Diabetes Day’s website offers an interesting test, available in a wide range of languages, to find out whether there are any warning signs in your life: because 1 out of 11 people in the world live with diabetes, but the most shocking fact is perhaps that 1 out of 2 affected people don’t even know they live with the condition.
Therefore, prevention and regular check-ups are key: having our blood sugar levels always under control is the most effective way to hinder – or quickly tackle – the onset of diabetes.
THE WHOLE WORLD TAKES THE FIELD
No less than 415 million people in the world have diabetes today. And the number is bound to increase, according to specialized scientific reports. A diet that is rich in fat and sugar, widespread obesity, sedentary lifestyles and little physical activity are some of the main causes of this trend, which targets people all around the planet, and especially in the Western world.
Unfortunately, risk factors have increased even amongst younger people: while type-2 diabetes (the milder form, almost exclusively tied to one’s diet) used to typically worry only the elderly, today it is a reality also for teens and young adults under 25. This opens the door to other health risks as well: decades of high blood sugar only enhance heart issues and can lead to complications in every part of the body. These higher risk rates are the consequence of millennials’ popular bad habits: a sedentary lifestyle where videogames have replaced outdoors activities, paired with a monotonous diet dotted with high-calorie snacks throughout the day and night.