Dr Zunaira Akram
World Diabetes Day 2018 takes place on Wednesday, November 14. This one day’s objective is to raise awareness of a condition with which millions of people around the world live every day.
“Family and Diabetes” is the subject of World Diabetes Day 2018. The objective is to raise awareness of the impact of diabetes on the family and to support the network of affected persons and to promote the role of the family in the management, care, prevention and education of diabetes.
Essentially, diabetes is about the body’s ability (or lack of it) to produce the required amount of a hormone called insulin to control glucose levels in the blood. There are broadly two types of diabetes: Type I i.e. Insulin dependent Diabetes Mellitus requires daily administration of artificial insulin by means of injection or insulin pump. Type II, Non Insulin dependent Diabetes Mellitus is more generally managed by life style modification with a combination of dietary control and medication in the form of tablets and/or Insulin.
At present, more than 425 million people live with diabetes. Most of these cases are type II diabetes, which can be largely prevented by regular physical activity, a healthy and balanced diet and healthy living conditions. Families have a key role to play in addressing the modifiable risk factors for type II diabetes and must have education, resources and a healthy lifestyle in their environment.
One in two people with diabetes are currently undiagnosed. Early diagnosis and treatment are essential for preventing diabetes complications and for achieving healthy results. All families are potentially affected by diabetes and so awareness of the signs, symptoms and risk factors of diabetes are vital to help detect it early. It is also very important that people with diabetes maintain good control over their condition in order to reduce and avoid long-term complications associated with diabetes.
Diabetes can constrain families into penury. The effective management of diabetes requires daily treatment, regular monitoring, a healthy diet and lifestyle and ongoing education. In many countries, insulin injection expenses and every day screening alone can consume half of the family’s regular earnings, and too many people are unable to access regular and affordable essential diabetes medicines. Therefore, improving access to affordable diabetes medicines and care is urgently needed to avoid higher costs for individuals and families that affect health outcomes.
Less than one in four family members has access to education programs for diabetes. Family support for diabetes care has shown a significant impact on improving health outcomes for diabetes patients. It is therefore important that continuing diabetes self-management education and support be available to every people with diabetes and their families to overcome the poignant effect of the illness that can result in a negative quality of life