Every year on the 7th April millions of people acknowledge World Health Day. This year the key message is to raise awareness of diabetes, a condition that affected 347 million people in 2008 and claimed the lives of 1.5 million in 2012. Unfortunately the figures don’t look set to get any better just yet, with the World Health Organisation (WHO) estimating that diabetes will be the 7th largest cause of death by 2030.
The main goals of World Health Day 2016 are to:
- Raise awareness of this dangerous disease
- Prompt positive steps towards the prevention, diagnosis and treatment of diabetes
- Create the first global report on diabetes, highlighting the ramifications of the disease in order to champion a better equipped health system to ‘ensure improved surveillance, enhanced prevention, and more effective management of diabetes.’
What is diabetes?
There are two types of diabetes; type 1 and type 2. People with type 1 diabetes do not produce enough insulin via their pancreas so they need insulin injections to survive. This is because they are unable to regulate their blood sugar levels and are then left with harmful levels of sugar in their blood as it is unable to reach the cells where is can be used effectively and turned into energy.
Despite often producing their own insulin, those with type 2 diabetes (90% of cases) are unable to use it effectively. Typically, these people are inactive and overweight – two factors that raise insulin needs. The bad news is that, if left untreated, high blood sugar levels will eventually undermine every organ in the body, contributing to unnecessary and preventative deaths.
The good news
By raising awareness and changing unhealthy eating and lifestyle habits we can help reduce the number of people with type 2 diabetes. This would mean that millions of people would reduce their risk of strokes, heart attacks, kidney failure, infections, nerve damage, amputations, impotence and blindness.
If you think you, a friend or loved one is at risk it’s not too late to get help. Get yourselves to a doctor, start making healthy food choices and participate in daily exercise.
How to take part
To take part in World Health Day, use the hashtag #Diabetes and head on over to the WHO website.
To make sure your friends and family are making the right health choices no matter where they are in the world, why not give them a call via Cherry Call.