Every year World Diabetes Day takes place on the 14th November. It has grown from humble beginnings to become a globally-celebrated event which increases awareness about diabetes. The day is internationally recognised and is an official United Nations Day.
The International Federation of Diabetes (IDF) declares the theme for every one or two year. The theme for diabetes awareness month and World Diabetes Day 2018-2019 is The Family and Diabetes.
IDF is raising awareness of the impact that diabetes has on the family and support network of those affected, and promoting the role of the family in the management, care, prevention and education of diabetes.
Families are urged to learn more about the warning signs of diabetes and find out their risk of type 2 diabetes. IDF found four-in-five parents would have trouble recognising the warning signs. One-in-three would not spot them at all. These alarming findings pushed IDF to attract the family concern to combat diabetes.
The findings underline the need for education and awareness to help people spot the diabetes warning signs early. The lack of knowledge on diabetes means that spotting the warning signs is not just a problem for parents, but is an issue impacting a cross-section of society. This is a major concern, due to the signs being milder in type 2 diabetes, the most prevalent form of the condition, responsible for around 90% of all diabetes.
One in two people currently living with diabetes are undiagnosed. The vast majority of these have type 2 diabetes.
If left untreated or unmanaged, diabetes can lead to life-changing complications. These include blindness, amputation, kidney failure, heart attack and stroke. Diabetes was responsible for four million deaths in 2017.
On eve of the day, IDF is trying create huge awareness to attract the authorities, diabetes care givers, patients with diabetes and their well wishers to initiate diabetes prevention programmes, conduct own surveys/ research, mobilise resources, engage the educational means and implement the healthy life style facilities.
This is very much pertinent for Bangladesh to take appropriate steps to prevent and manage diabetes.
The writer is an Associate Professor at the Department of Endocrinology & Metabolism of Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujib Medical University (BSMMU).