November 14 is the birthday of Sir Frederick Banting, the co-discoverer of insulin.
This year’s World Diabetes Day theme is Diabetes Education and Prevention. The 2011 slogan is Act on Diabetes. Now. The campaign aims to highlight diabetes symptoms and prevention measures, among other things.
“Diabetes is a serious epidemic facing not only our nation, but the world. It is the leading cause of blindness, kidney disease and amputations, plus it doubles your risk of heart attack and stroke,” commented Elizabeth Mayer-Davis, MSPH, PhD, RD, President, Health Care & Education, American Diabetes Association. “But knowing the signs and symptoms of diabetes, both type 1 and type 2, can help with early detection and treatment. Type 2 diabetes and many diabetes complications can be prevented or delayed with lifestyle intervention.”
Nearly 26 million Americans from children to adults have diabetes and up to 79 million more are at risk for type 2 diabetes. According to the International Diabetes Federation, more than 300 million people worldwide have diabetes.
During World Diabetes Day and throughout November’s American Diabetes Month, the American Diabetes Association is encouraging greater awareness of a disease that strikes a person in the United States every 17 seconds.
Diabetes often goes undiagnosed because many of its symptoms seem harmless:
Type 1 diabetes symptoms
• Frequent urination
• Unusual thirst
• Extreme hunger
• Unusual weight loss
• Extreme fatigue and irritability
Type 2 diabetes symptoms*
• Any of the type 1 symptoms
• Frequent infections
• Blurred vision
• Cuts/bruises that are slow to heal
• Tingling/numbness in the hands/feet
• Recurring skin, gum or bladder infections
*Often people with type 2 diabetes have no symptoms.
“Studies have shown that type 2 diabetes can be prevented or delayed. Thirty minutes a day, five days a week, of moderate physical activity (such as brisk walking) and a 7% reduction in body weight (or about 15 pounds if you weigh 200 pounds) can help lower your risk for type 2 diabetes,” commented Mayer-Davis. “In addition, many diabetes complications, whether you have type 1 or type 2, can be prevented or delayed with exercise and healthy eating and keeping blood glucose levels as close to normal as possible.”
The American Diabetes Association is leading the fight to stop diabetes and its deadly consequences and fighting for those affected by diabetes. The Association funds research to prevent, cure and manage diabetes; delivers services to hundreds of communities; provides objective and credible information; and gives voice to those denied their rights because of diabetes. Founded in 1940, our mission is to prevent and cure diabetes and to improve the lives of all people affected by diabetes. For more information please call the American Diabetes Association at 1-800-DIABETES (1-800-342-2383) or visit www.diabetes.org. Information from both these sources is available in English and Spanish.