Diabetes is a chronic disease that occurs when the body cannot produce enough insulin or cannot use insulin effectively. Insulin is a hormone produced in the pancreas that allows glucose from food to enter the body’s cells where it is converted into energy needed by muscles and tissues to function. A person with diabetes does not absorb glucose properly, and glucose remains circulating in the blood (a condition known as hyperglycaemia) damaging body tissues over time. This damage can lead to disabling and life-threatening health complications.
The International Diabetes Federation (IDF) estimates that 8.3% of adults – 382 million people – have diabetes, and the number of people with the disease is set to rise beyond 592 million in less than 25 years. Yet, with 175 million of cases currently undiagnosed, a vast amount of people with diabetes are progressing towards complications unawares. Moreover, with 80% of the total number affected living in low- and middle-income countries, where the epidemic is gathering pace at alarming rates, the IDF Diabetes Atlas’ latest figures provide a worrying indication of the future impact of diabetes as a major threat to global development. Diabetes in all its forms imposes unacceptably high human, social and economic costs on countries at all income level.
World Diabetes Day 2014
The World Diabetes Day (WDD) was introduced in 1991 by IDF and WHO, the Day is celebrated on 14 November to mark the birthday of Frederick Banting who, along with Charles Best, was instrumental in the discovery of insulin in 1922, a life-saving treatment for diabetes patients.
The World Diabetes Day unites the global diabetes community to produce a powerful voice for diabetes awareness and advocacy, engaging individuals and communities to bring the diabetes epidemic into the public spotlight.
Healthy Living and Diabetes is the World Diabetes Day theme for 2014 – 2016. The 2014 activities and materials proposed by IDF focus on the importance of starting the day with a healthy breakfast to help prevent the onset of type 2 diabetes and effectively manage all types of diabetes to avoid complications. Special focus will be placed on the importance of starting the day with a healthy breakfast.
“This year, World Diabetes Day focuses on healthy eating as an important component of both preventing and treating diabetes. Healthy eating and regular exercise can prevent the onset of type 2 diabetes and are important in managing all types of diabetes. I call for Governments, as well as the private sector and civil society, to unite in producing and promoting more food products consistent with a healthy diet that are affordable, accessible and available to all.”
-UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon
IFMSA recognizes the need to tackle, prevent and control the global burden of Non-Communicable Diseases (NCDs), and reduce the worldwide morbidity and mortality related to cardiovascular diseases, cancers, chronic respiratory diseases and diabetes, as well as reduce the four shared risk factors, namely tobacco use, physical inactivity, unhealthy diets and the harmful use of alcohol.
For the WDD 2014, more than 60 National Member Organizations representing medical students are standing up to raise awareness about diabetes, its risk factors, preventive and control methods. Highlighting the adoption of regular exercise and healthy eating as important life habits will prevent not only diabetes but other NCDs.
IFMSA members around the world are taking “selfies” and sharing it on social network with the Diabetes Blue Circle – the global symbol of diabetes to promote the importance of healthy habits no matter your country, culture or social conditions.
Join us and upload your selfie using the WDD App.
Let’s fight Diabetes together!
Arthur Mello – Liaison Officer for Public Health issues 2014/15
On behalf of the SCOPH International Team 2014/15
International Diabetes Federation. IDF Diabetes Atlas, 6th edn. Brussels, Belgium: International Diabetes Federation, 2013. http://www.idf.org/diabetesatlas