November 14, observed as World Diabetes Day is the biggest diabetes awareness campaign that has run since 1991. Initiated by International Diabetes Federation (IDF) and World Health Organization (WHO) it reaches out to a global audience of more than one billion people of over 160 countries. The day is earmarked to respond to concerns about escalating health hazards caused by diabetes.
The UNO declared the day to be noted as the official World Diabetes Day. The date was identified to coincide with the birth anniversary of scientist and Nobel laureate Frederick Banting, the co-discoverer of insulin. A number of awareness activities get organized around the theme identified for a particular year. In 2016 the theme was – Eyes on Diabetes, and this year’s theme is – Women and Diabetes: Our Right to a Healthy Future.
The 2017 World Diabetes Day promotes the significance of inexpensive and equitable access for all women patients to required diabetes medicines, self-management education and information for optimizing diabetes outcomes. The aim is to ensure and strengthen their capacity to prevent type 2 diabetes. The focus is especially on women living with diabetes or those who are likely to be afflicted by the disease.
It appears there are about 199 million women suffering and this figure will escalate to 313 million by 2040. Two out of every five women with diabetes are in reproductive age group, totaling to 60 million women worldwide. Diabetes is the ninth leading cause of death in women globally, causing 2.1 million deaths each year. Women with type 2 diabetes are ten times more likely to suffer coronary heart disease than non-diabetic women. Women with type 1 diabetes are also at risk of early miscarriage or to have babies with malformations.
It is imperative to combat this situation and for this reason medical help needs to pay complete attention to the specific needs of women. Women with diabetes must have access to medication and treatment options to be able to handle the management of the disease. More importantly women with diabetes should have access to pre-conception planning services to reduce risk during pregnancy.
This day also emphasizes the importance of physical exercise for women and girls for them to improve their condition. It lays stress that pregnant women should get screening and every information for achieving positive outcomes for both themselves and their baby. The fact of the matter is that 1 in 7 births are affected by gestational diabetes. Nearly 20.9 million live births to women in 2015 suffered from some form of hyperglycemia in pregnancy.
Approximately half of diabetic women go on to develop type 2 diabetes within five to ten years after delivery. And, half of all cases of hyperglycemia in pregnancy occur in women under the age of 30. Studies indicate that majority of cases of hyperglycemia in pregnancy come from low and middle-income respondents having limited access to maternal care.
There are a number of strategies that need to be taken up on priority basis. Type 2 diabetes prevention strategies have to focus on maternal health and nutrition both before and during pregnancy, as well as infant and early childhood nutrition. Antenatal care visits during pregnancy must take into account early detection of diabetes. Screening for diabetes should be integrated into other maternal health interventions to ensure reduced maternal mortality.
World Diabetes Day is therefore marked to raise awareness and provide information on diabetes; more so if there is a family history of diabetes. In such case one has the genetic disposition to get the disease that may also be triggered by lifestyle conditions. Diagnosis and due diligence manages the disease well. Lifestyle modifications, controlling obesity, balanced diet, regular exercise, adequate sleep, stress management and regular checkups for blood sugar monitoring and intake of medicines allows diabetics to live reasonably healthy lives.