World Diabetes Day — celebrated every year on November 14 — was created in 1991 by the International Diabetes Foundation. Diabetes is a chronic disease where the pancreas doesn’t produce enough insulin. It can also lead to other chronic conditions like kidney failure and heart attacks, hence the push to draw attention to an illness with increasing numbers worldwide. Curious as to why we celebrate this important day on November 14 specifically? This datewas picked because it’s the birthday of Frederick Banting, who discovered insulin in 1922. So read on, and help us raise awareness of this important condition.
How to Observe World Diabetes Day
1. Wear the blue circle
The blue circle logo is a global symbol for diabetes awareness. On World Diabetes Day, wear a t-shirt, necklace or bracelet with the logo or create one yourself to make others aware of this dangerous disease and its effects.
2. Organize a diabetes fair
Partner with health officials to sponsor a diabetes fair at your place of work or your neighborhood. Offer diabetes screenings,disseminate information and brochures,and provide information on what people can do to prevent type II diabetes and stay healthy.
3. Get tested
Symptoms of diabetes can include but aren’t limited to excessive excretion of urine, thirst, constant hunger, weight loss, vision changes and fatigue. In addition, being overweight or obese greatly increases thechances of having type II diabetes. It’s estimated 1 in 2 adults with diabetes is undiagnosed. Use World Diabetes Day as reminder to get tested if you have any risk factors or symptoms.
Why World Diabetes Day is Important
A. It draws attention to the diabetes epidemic
Over a 25 year span (from 1988 to 2013) diabetes diagnoses increased roughly 380%. And these diagnoses are dangerous—by the year 2030 the World Health Organization predicts diabetes will be the seventh leading cause of death in the world. This condition demands attention—and that’s why having a whole day dedicated to it is crucial.
B. Type II diabetes can be avoided
World Diabetes Day serves as a reminder to live our lives more healthfully. Type II diabetes can be limited through a healthy diet, regular physical activity and maintaining a normal weight. Tobacco use exacerbates type II diabetes as well, and is best avoided.
C. It’s a reminder to be educated about diabetes
Type II diabetes has grown to epidemic proportions, but type I diabetes, formerly known as juvenile diabetes, is just as serious a health threat. Approximately 1.25 million Americans are diagnosed with type I diabetes, but the cause of the disease is unknown. However, the health effects are just as devastating as type II diabetes. World Diabetes Day serves as a reminder to know the symptoms of diabetes, get tested, and get treatment.