14 November is World Diabetes Day (WDD), raising global awareness of this growing health threat, its treatment and prevention.
Frederick Banting and Charles Best conceived the idea that led to the discovery of insulin in 1921, and WDD is celebrated annually on 14 November, which marks Frederick Banting’s birthday.
WDD is an official United Nations Day, marked by more than 200 member organisations of the International Diabetes Federation in more than 160 countries. These organisations, along with companies, healthcare workers and people and families living with diabetes, increase awareness by participating in activities, events, exhibitions, workshops and campaigns. The WDD logo is a blue circle, symbolising life and health, the sky and the colour of the United Nations flag. Last year, the Sydney Opera House was even bathed in blue light to mark this special day.
Diabetes is the fastest growing chronic condition in Australia, with 280 Australians being diagnosed daily. Almost 1.1 million Australians are currently diagnosed, and it is estimated that the total number with diabetes or pre-diabetes is 3.2 million.
What is diabetes?
Our bodies need the hormone insulin to convert glucose (sugar) from our food into energy. People with diabetes do not produce enough insulin, so when they eat foods containing glucose (such as breads, cereals, fruit, starchy vegetables, legumes, milk, yoghurt and sweets), they can’t convert this glucose to energy. This leaves them with a higher blood glucose level.
Type 1 diabetes, which is not preventable or curable, occurs when the pancreas stops making insulin, so sufferers rely on up to four insulin injections daily and need to test their blood glucose levels several times a day.
Type 2 diabetes is more common, affecting nearly 90% of all diabetes sufferers. It results from genetic and environmental factors, and lifestyle plays a significant role in the development and management of the disease. People with type 2 diabetes will often need to take tablets or insulin to manage their health. Up to 58% of cases of type 2 diabetes are preventable at the pre-diabetes stage.
What you need to know
As diabetes becomes more common, it is important for everyone to understand their risks, be aware of the symptoms of diabetes, and know how to manage important lifestyle factors. Understanding the disease will help sufferers, and their family and friends, manage their lifestyle, control their diabetes and stay as healthy as possible.
Where to find information
The Diabetes Australia website is a great place to start looking for information, providing practical information on understanding and living with diabetes, as well as valuable information for health professionals and researchers.
State Library of Queensland has some really practical resources, including books, ebooks and information on our health databases. Just search in our One Search catalogue, and look at databases listed in the health and medicine database subject listings.
If you need help locating any health related information, you can also Ask us.