World Diabetes Day is a campaign that features a new theme chosen by the International Diabetes Federation. Each year World Diabetes Day is centred on a theme related to diabetes. Topics covered in the past have included diabetes and human rights, diabetes and lifestyle, and the costs of diabetes.Recent themes include:
- 2005: Diabetes and Foot Care
- 2006: Diabetes in the Disadvantaged and the Vulnerable
- 2007-2008: Diabetes in Children and Adolescents
- 2009-2013: Diabetes Education and Prevention
Diabetes Education and Prevention is the World Diabetes Day theme for the period 2009-2013. The campaign slogan is “Let's take control of diabetes. Now.”
There are three main types of diabetes:
Type 1 diabetes is sometimes called insulin-dependent, immune-mediated or juvenile-onset diabetes. It is caused by an auto-immune reaction where the body’s defence system attacks the insulin-producing cells.
Type 2 diabetes is sometimes called non-insulin dependent diabetes or adult-onset diabetes, and accounts for at least 90% of all cases of diabetes.
Gestational diabetes (GDM) is a form of diabetes consisting of high blood glucose levels during pregnancy. It develops in one in 25 pregnancies worldwide and is associated with complications in the period immediately before and after birth.
Type 1 and type 2 diabetes are chronic, life-long conditions that require careful monitoring and control. Without proper management they can lead to very high blood sugar levels which can result in long term damage to various organs and tissues.
Complications of diabetes are: Cardiovascular diseases, kidney disease, nerve disease (diabetic neuropathy) and eye disease (diabetic retinopathy).
Diabetes warning signs
Individuals can experience different warning signs, and sometimes there may be no obvious warning, but some of the signs of diabetes are commonly experienced:
- Frequent urination
- Excessive thirst
- Increased hunger
- Weight loss
- Lack of interest and concentration
- Vomiting and stomach pain (often mistaken as the flu)
- A tingling sensation or numbness in the hands or feet
- Blurred vision
- Frequent infections
- Slow-healing wounds
The onset of type 1 diabetes is usually sudden and dramatic while the symptoms can often be mild or absent in people with type 2 diabetes, making this type of diabetes gradual in onset and hard to detect.
If you show these signs, consult a health professional.
At present, type 1 diabetes cannot be prevented. The environmental triggers that are thought to generate the process that results in the destruction of the body’s insulin-producing cells are still under investigation. Type 2 diabetes, however, can be prevented in many cases by maintaining a healthy weight and being physically active. There is substantial evidence that achieving a healthy body weight and moderate physical activity can help prevent the development of type 2 diabetes. Regular walking for at least 30 minutes per day, for example, has been shown to reduce the risk of type 2 diabetes by 35-40%.