World Diabetes Day

The theme of the World Diabetes Day (WDD) 2016 was Eyes on Diabetes – focus on early diagnosis of type 2 diabetes – focus on treatment – reduction of risk of serious complications.

World Diabetes Day

The launch of World Diabetes Day in 1991 by the International Diabetes Federation (IDF) and the World Health Organization (WHO) was with the intent to check the rapid spread of diabetes the world over. Ever since its inception, it has been observed every year on November 14th.

Some of the themes in the recent years have been:
Protect our Future: Diabetes Education and Prevention – 2013
Go Blue for Breakfast-2014
Healthy Eating – 2015
Eyes on Diabetes – 2016

Although the WDD crusade against diabetes continues throughout the entire year, the purpose of having WDD on November 14th every year is to mark the birthday of Frederick Banting who was instrumental in the discovery of insulin. Charles Best and John James Rickard Macleod were responsible for the funding of the research.

Diabetes is fast becoming one of the very challenging and major public health problems around the
Diabetes is fast becoming one of the very challenging and major public health problems around the world.

Frank F Banting was born in Alliston, Ontario, Canada on November 14, 1891. After serving in the First World War, Sir Banting immersed himself in the study of the pancreas and diabetes. He joined the University of Toronto in 1921 for further work on his pet project.

It’s on record that the university gave him 10 dogs to experiment with. He created an injection using the dog’s pancreas. He then injected a dog whose pancreas had been removed to induce diabetes. Cows and pigs were also used in his tests.

His subsequent experiment included injecting a 14-year-old diabetic boy with insulin. Hence, the teenager Leonard Thompson became the first human to benefit from insulin. His condition improved rapidly. Many other diabetics responded well to the new drug.

All of Sir Frank Frederick Banting’s hard work on diabetes had paid off with the discovery of insulin, in 1921. His work on the miracle drug earned him the Nobel Prize, and in 1934 he received Knighthood by King Arthur (V).

Till date, he remains the youngest Nobel Prize winner ever to have won the award in the category of physiology and medicine. It was soon after the discovery that mass production of insulin was started by the pharmaceutical company Eli Lilling.

There are two types of diabetes, type 1 and type 2. To put it simply, type 1 is when there is a total lack of insulin in the body, and type 2 diabetics are those who can’t receive insulin. The common factor between the two types is the potential of creating serious complications for the patient.

However, with regular monitoring, proper eating habits – basically, with proper management of the disease one can reduce the chances of major complications. WDD is a platform to promote the suggestions of the IDF all through the year.

The main agenda of Word Diabetic Day 2016 was to address diabetes-related issues with emphasis on:

Screening for type 2 diabetes is important to modify its course and reduce the risk of complications

Screening for diabetes complications is an essential part of managing type 1 and type 2 diabetes

An extract from the IDF website reads:

“IDF has estimated that globally as many as 193 million people, or close to half of all adults living with diabetes in 2015, are unaware of their disease. Most of these cases are type 2 diabetes. The earlier a person is diagnosed, the earlier treatment can be initiated in order to reduce the risk of harmful and costly complications.

A person with type 2 diabetes can live for several years without showing any symptoms, during which time high blood glucose is silently damaging the body. There is, therefore, an urgent need to screen, diagnose and provide appropriate treatment to people with diabetes. WDD 2016 will “highlight the feasible and cost-effective solutions that exist to help identify people with undiagnosed type 2 diabetes and those at risk of developing it in the future.”

Google marked World Diabetes Day on Monday with a tribute to the first physician and scientist to use insulin on humans, Frederick Banting.
Google marked World Diabetes Day on Monday with a tribute to the first physician and scientist to use insulin on humans, Frederick Banting.

Google paid tribute to the pioneer Sir Frank Frederick Banting on his 125th birthday anniversary, with a doodle in a mustard-colored cartoon alongside the Google’s logo with the second “O” replaced by a bottle of insulin. Users who accessed Google on the Word Diabetes Day – 2016, saw the innovative doodle.

In modern times the manufacture of insulin is done by harvesting bacteria instead of using pigs’ pancreas, a practice which was employed till as recently as 1980.

Some of the diabetes-related complications are:

Damage to the large blood vessels of the heart, brain and legs, which in medical terminology is known as macrovascular complications.

Damage to the small blood vessels, causing problems in the eyes, kidneys, feet, and nerves are referred to as microvascular complications.

Other parts of the body can also be affected by diabetes, including the digestive system, the skin, sexual organs, teeth and gums, and the immune system.

The fight against diabetes and creating awareness will continue as pledged by the IDF and WHO as it still remains to be one of the major health factors around the world.

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