Medilink Action on World Diabetes Day 2018
That the World Health Organisation (WHO) needs to hold an annual World Diabetes Day is testament to the disturbing statistics showing that this chronic disease is increasing at an alarming rate globally. World Diabetes Day is the world’s largest diabetes awareness campaign reaching a global audience of over 1 billion people in more than 160 countries. It is aimed at keeping the disease in the spotlight and at the top of national health agendas worldwide.
Since the 1980s, the global incidence of diabetes has nearly quadrupled from 108 million people affected to around 422 million in 2014. By the same year, statistics showed that 8.5% of adults aged 18 years and older had diabetes; even more worrying is the rise in child diabetes.
The WHO treats diabetes as one its priorities especially as type 2 diabetes, the most prevalent, can be prevented. In addition to its annual action days, the WHO dedicated its World Health Day 2016 to diabetes awareness.
It is for these reasons that Medilink is participating in the WHO World Diabetes Day on 14 November this year to help raise awareness among our clients, their employees and our own staff of the causes and effects of diabetes and to promote measures we can all take to reduce our chances of contracting diabetes.
Types, Causes and Prevention of Diabetes
Diabetes is a chronic disease that occurs either when the pancreas does not produce enough insulin or when the body cannot effectively use the insulin it produces. Insulin is a hormone that regulates blood sugar. Hyperglycaemia, or raised blood sugar, is a common effect of uncontrolled diabetes and over time leads to serious damage to many of the body’s systems, especially the nerves and blood vessels.
Two types of diabetes are defined:
Type 2 diabetes, the most common form of diabetes (formerly called non-insulin-dependent, or adult-onset) can be the result of lifestyle issues such as excess body weight and a lack of physical activity.
The causes of type 1 diabetes (previously known as insulin-dependent, juvenile or childhood-onset) are in contrast not known and it is not preventable with current knowledge.
Both types of diabetes share the same symptoms which include: the need to pass water frequently; extreme thirst and the need to drink a lot; hunger; extreme and constant fatigue; blurred vision; and open cuts and sores that don’t heal well.
These symptoms may be dismissed by a sufferer thereby leaving diabetes undetected until it results in more severe symptoms. Without a diabetes management plan and prescribed medication, type 2 diabetes may lead to blindness, kidney failure, heart attacks, stroke and lower limb amputation.
Latest figures (2018) from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), estimate that in the US alone, some 14 percent of U.S adults have diabetes; 10 percent are aware of it and four percent are undiagnosed. The center’s most recent annual Diabetes Report Card (2017) does show a drop in the number of new, diagnosed cases of diabetes. However, the data also shows that apart from lifestyle indicators, socio-cultural and -economic factors have a role to play in determining the likelihood of an individual developing diabetes. It also shows a year-on-year increase in child and adolescent diabetes.
The CDC stresses that even if a person has pre-diabetes symptoms, it is a not a foregone conclusion they need contract full diabetes. The center, echoing the WHO policies, is an advocate of what it calls a ‘prevention lifestyle change program’ to help people reduce or even reverse in some cases their pre-diabetes condition.
By maintaining healthy-living measures and routines, it may well be possible to prevent or delay the onset of type 2 diabetes. A healthy diet, regular physical activity, maintaining a normal body weight and avoiding tobacco use just some ways in which we can all minimise our chances of contracting diabetes.
Medilink Initiative for World Diabetes Day
Awareness and early detection of diabetes through a simple, quick, non-intrusive test can make a substantial difference to the onset, management and effects of diabetes on an individual’s life. Detection is therefore key to helping prevent or delay what can result in life-threatening complications caused by diabetes.
Many of our clients’ industries operate in extreme locations and are manned by expatriate staff working remotely. This type of peripatetic lifestyle, away from the support of family and friends, can engender a variety of personal and occupational health issues. At Medilink, we offer not just in-the-field, remote medical support but also reach out to clients and their employees to help tackle lifestyle-related health concerns.
Through events such as the free drop-in tests offered to mark World Diabetes Day, as well as periodic lectures on topical medical issues, we support our clients and their staff in improving their overall health and well-being.