History of World Diabetes Day
Diabetes is considered to have been around 1550 BC. The successful extraction and injection of insulin into humans was discovered in 1922. So, comparatively, our understanding of diabetes is quite new compared to its long, arduous march through history.
The difference between type two and type one started around 1850, where medical professionals at the time believed that they knew enough of the difference between the two to warrant two categories.
Since then, type II diabetes has ballooned to 90% of the those affected, with an estimated $425 million individuals affected worldwide. This alarming rise is one of the reasons the WHO and IDF wanted to create World Diabetes Day — to help spread awareness.
Having to manage blood sugar levels on a daily basis is a time-consuming and costly endeavor, as the economic cost of diabetes globally is around $727 billion (USD) and in the US alone it costs almost a third of that, at $245 billion.
The costliness and its prevention create even more reason for us to spread awareness of the disease, and also celebrate the birth of the man who helped bring insulin into the modern world as an effective treatment against it.
World Diabetes Day timeline
Doctors diagnosing diabetes would taste the urine of the patient.
Born in Ontario, Banting was one of the two scientists who led the research into discovering insulin.
Banting, with aid from his assistant, Charles Best, figures out how to extract insulin from animals and carries out the first injection insulin. Initially a failure, after a few tries they were able to do so with no side effects.
On Banting's 100th birthday, the IDF and WHO declare World Diabetes Day to spread awareness about the illness throughout the world during a rising diabetes epidemic.
How to Observe World Diabetes Day
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.
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.
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 the chances 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
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.
Type II diabetes can be avoided
World Diabetes Day serves as a reminder to live our lives more healthfully. While Type I diabetes is not preventable, 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.
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.
World Diabetes Day dates