World Diabetes Day on 14 November is a timely reminder of the importance of making healthy choices in life.
The global prevalence of diabetes across the globe nearly doubled between 1980 and 2014, rising from 4.7 percent to 8.5 percent in the adult population.
This reflects an increase in associated risk factors such as being overweight or obese and poor diet or lifestyle choices such as smoking and drinking.
Over the past decade, diabetes prevalence has risen faster in low and middle-income countries than in high-income countries.
Type 1 diabetes (previously known as insulin-dependent or childhood-onset diabetes) is characterised by the body’s lack of insulin production.
Type 2 diabetes (formerly called non-insulin-dependent or adult-onset diabetes) is caused by the body’s ineffective use of insulin. It often results from excess body weight and physical inactivity.
Gestational diabetes is hyperglycaemia that is first recognised during pregnancy.
Signs & symptoms
Diabetes is a major cause of blindness, kidney failure, heart attack, stroke and lower limb amputation. A healthy diet, physical activity and avoiding tobacco use can prevent or delay type 2 diabetes. In addition, diabetes can be treated and its consequences avoided or delayed with medication, regular screening and treatment for complications.
Today, 1.5 million people are living with diabetes in Australia. There are a further 400,000 Australians at high risk of developing type 2 diabetes due to their health situation and lifestyle.
According to the Hospital Research Foundation Group, diabetes is the fastest-growing chronic health problem in Australia, with one Australian developing the condition every five minutes.
The Diabetes Australia Research Program is an organisation committed to supporting people with diabetes and preventing or delaying at-risk people from getting the condition.
The program has invested $36 million in more than 500 research projects over the past 12 years to help mitigate the causes of diabetes, making grants available to non-profit organisations that promote diabetes health care, education and/or medical research.
The organisations must possess the facilities and abilities to carry out the activities detailed in their application for funding.
In 2007, the United Nations General Assembly designated 14 November as World Diabetes Day, recognising “the urgent need to pursue multilateral efforts to promote and improve human health, and provide access to treatment and health-care education”.
Access to care
The theme for World Diabetes Day 2023 is ‘access to diabetes care’. A century after the discovery of insulin, millions of people with diabetes around the world still cannot access the care they need. People with diabetes require ongoing care and support to manage their condition and avoid complications.
Organisers of the day said the centenary of insulin’s discovery presents a unique opportunity to bring about meaningful change for the more than 460 million people around the world living with diabetes and the millions more at risk.