Today is World Diabetes Day, sponsored by the International Diabetes Federation. An official United Nations Day since 2007, World Diabetes Day is held every year on November 14th to commemorate the birthday of Frederick Banning. Along with Charles Best, Banning is credited with the life-saving discovery of insulin in 1922.
Why is there a need for a global diabetes day? As the United Nations wrote in their 2007 resolution, diabetes is “a chronic, debilitating and costly disease associated with major complications that pose severe risks for families, countries and the entire world.” Namely, it is the cause of four million deaths worldwide every year, with someone dying every eight seconds from the disease.
The global symbol for diabetes awareness is a blue circle, and supporters everywhere are encouraged to wear blue today to help spread the word about this pandemic. You can also help get the message out about prevention. While type 1 diabetes cannot be prevented, research shows that, in many cases, type 2 diabetes can be prevented by maintaining a healthy weight and being physically active. Regular walking for at least 30 minutes per day, for example, has been shown to reduce the risk of type 2 diabetes by 35-40%.
We recently highlighted type 1 diabetes (and how it differs from type 2) in our blog post, “American Diabetes Month Kicks Off with T1 Day,” as well as our two-part interview with type 1 patient Michael Burke. Here’s a little more information about type 2 diabetes, which accounts for at least 90% of all diabetes cases worldwide. At PatientsLikeMe, 1,773 patients report type 2 diabetes, with 68% of them female and 32% male. One of the most commonly reported treatments is Metformin, an oral anti-diabetic medication prescribed when hyperglycemia (high blood sugar) due to diabetes cannot be controlled through exercise and diet alone. What do patients say about this drug? Check out the 125 treatment evaluations submitted by our members, who share their experiences with dosage, side effects, efficacy, cost and more.
With a staggering 366 million people diagnosed with diabetes worldwide – and another 300 million at risk – it’s imperative that diabetes awareness and knowledge grow faster than the disease itself. The new “Calling All Types” diabetes awareness campaign – an initiative of PatientsLikeMe and our partner BBK Worldwide – helped mark World Diabetes Day this past weekend at the Diabetes University 2011 event in Atlanta, Georgia. Now in its 18th year, this event works to educate both medical professionals and the public. Given that the prevalence of diabetes in Atlanta is a full point higher than the national average, Calling All Types has made Atlanta the focal point of the campaign’s initial awareness-raising activities.
Are you a type 1 or type 2 diabetes patient? Share your story at CallingAllTypes.com in honor of World Diabetes Day. For everyone else, “act now” by wearing blue, talking about type 2 diabetes prevention or simply taking a walk around your neighborhood.