Globally, an estimated 422 million adults were living with diabetes in 2014, compared to 108 million in 1980. The global prevalence of diabetes has nearly doubled since 1980, rising from 4.7% to 8.5% in the adult population. This reflects an increase in associated risk factors such as being overweight or obese. Over the past decade, diabetes prevalence has risen faster in low and middle-income countries than in high-income countries.
Diabetes is a major cause of blindness, kidney failure, heart attack, stroke and lower limb amputation. 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.
In 2007 General Assembly adopted resolution 61/225 designating 14 November as World Diabetes Day. The document recognized “the urgent need to pursue multilateral efforts to promote and improve human health and provide access to treatment and health-care education.”
The resolution also encouraged Member States to develop national policies for the prevention, treatment and care of diabetes in line with the sustainable development of their health-care systems.
Nurses make the difference
The theme for World Diabetes Day in 2020 is “The Nurse and Diabetes.” The campaign aims to raise awareness around the crucial role that nurses play in supporting people living with diabetes.
Nurses currently account for over half of the global health workforce. They do outstanding work to support people living with a wide range of health concerns. People who either live with diabetes or are at risk of developing the condition need their support too.
People living with diabetes face a number of challenges, and education is vital to equip nurses with the skills to support them.
Diabetes is a chronic disease, which occurs when the pancreas does not produce enough insulin, or when the body cannot effectively use the insulin it produces. This leads to an increased concentration of glucose in the blood (hyperglycaemia).
Type 1 diabetes (previously known as insulin-dependent or childhood-onset diabetes) is characterized by a 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.