World Diabetes Day has been running annually on Tuesday, November 14 since 1991, it began in response to growing concerns about the escalating health threat posed by the illness.
In 2006 World Diabetes Day became an official United Nations Day, and the campaign reaches a global audience of over 1 billion people in more than 160 countries. World Diabetes Day aims to draw attention to the issues caused by diabetes around the world and keeping the disease in the public and political spotlight.
There are 199 million women with diabetes, there are expected to be 313 million by 2040. Diabetes is a leading cause of death among women. Women with type 2 diabetes are almost 10 times more likely to have heart disease. Women with type 1 diabetes have an increased risk of miscarriage or having a baby with malformations.
What is diabetes?
Diabetes is a life-long condition that causes a person’s blood sugar level to become too high. Type 1 diabetes is the type of diabetes that is genetic, the body’s immune system attacks and destroys the cells that produce insulin in the pancreas. Type 2 diabetes is where the body doesn’t produce enough insulin or the body’s cells don’t react to insulin, this can be due to excessive weight gain and not enough exercise. Around 90% of those with diabetes, suffer from type 2. During pregnancy, some women suffer from gestational diabetes, which is when women have such high levels of blood glucose that their body is unable to produce enough insulin to absorb it all.
What are the symptoms of diabetes?
If you are experiencing any of these main symptoms you should visit your GP. Feeling very thirsty. Urinating more frequently than usual, particularly at night. Feeling very tired. Weight loss and loss of muscle bulk. Itching around the penis or vagina, or frequent episodes of thrush. Cuts or wounds that heal slowly. Blurred vision. Type 1 diabetes can develop quickly over days or weeks and type 2 could exist for years without realising because of the early generalised symptoms. There are no lifestyle changes you can make to lower your risk of type 1 diabetes, but type 2 is linked to being overweight so a healthy diet and increased exercise can take you out of the danger zone.