- 1 in 2 people currently living with type 2 diabetes is undiagnosed.
- Diabetes causes personal suffering and drives millions of families into poverty.
- Could you prevent type 2 diabetes in your family?
- Could you spot the warning signs in your family?
Left unchecked, diabetes can result in the development of disabling and life-threatening health complications such as cardiovascular disease, neuropathy, nephropathy and eye disease, leading to retinopathy and blindness.
For this year and in 2019, the theme of the World Diabetes Month is Family and Diabetes.
Diabetes is not just a disease. It is a “global societal catastrophe” that causes personal suffering and drives millions of families into poverty.
For a lot of people, the cost of insulin injection, blood sugar monitoring and medications alone can consume half of their family’s disposable income.
It concerns all of us. It concerns every family member both children and adults.
What do we know about diabetes?
- Diabetes is a chronic condition that occurs when there are raised levels of glucose in the blood because the body cannot produce any or enough of the hormone insulin or use insulin effectively.
- Diabetes is the leading cause of heart disease, stroke, blindness, kidney failure and lower limb amputation.
- The risk factors for type 2 diabetes are overweight and obesity, unhealthy diet lack of exercise, family history of diabetes and high blood pressure.
- Symptoms include excessive thirst, frequent urination, lack of energy, blurred vision, slow healing wounds and numbness in feet and hands. These symptoms can be mild or absent in people with type 2 diabetes.
- Currently, over 425 million people around the world live with diabetes, and this number is expected to grow.
- The estimates of children and adolescents below age 20 with type 1 diabetes has risen to over a million. If nothing is done, the number of people with diabetes may rise to 629 million in 2045.
- Pregnant women with gestational diabetes are at an increased risk of complications during pregnancy and at delivery. They and their children are also at increased risk of type 2 diabetes in the future.
How can you help prevent diabetes in your family?
Type 2 diabetes is preventable by adopting a healthy lifestyle.
- Make sure that your family and friends know that diabetes is serious. Tell them about the symptoms that they should look out for.
- Educate your family with practical ways on how to cut down their risk.
- Parents should ensure that everyone in the family maintain a healthy diet and that they do regular exercise.
- IDF recommends physical activity at least between three to five days a week, for a minimum of 30-45 minutes.
- Choose water and cut down on fruit juices, soda and sweetened beverages.
Here’s a simple online test to know your risk of developing type 2 diabetes.
What about you? Have you noticed any of the symptoms in yourself or your family members? Do you encourage family members to visit a doctor for diabetes screening?