November 2021 marks the first year of a three-year theme dedicated to “Access to Diabetes Care”. The tagline for the campaign this year is “If not now, when?”. 100 years after the discovery of insulin, millions of people with diabetes around the world cannot access the care they need. People with diabetes require ongoing care and support to manage their condition and avoid complications.
Diabetes is a chronic disease in which the body either cannot produce insulin or cannot properly use the insulin it produces. Insulin is a hormone that controls the amount of glucose (sugar) in the blood. Diabetes leads to high blood sugar levels, which can damage organs, blood vessels and nerves. The body needs insulin to use sugar as an energy source.
At this time, researchers do not yet know how to prevent type 1 diabetes. However, type 2 diabetes can be delayed or prevented. If you have risk factors for type 2 diabetes, there are things you can do to reduce your risk of developing diabetes. Better food choices, regular exercise, and maintaining a healthy weight will help.
The International Diabetes Federation (IDF) and the World Health Organization (WHO) started World Diabetes Day in 1991 in response to the escalating health threat posed by diabetes. It has since grown to become a globally celebrated event and an official United Nations (UN) awareness day. It is now the world’s largest diabetes awareness campaign.
We are living in extraordinarily difficult times, in which people with diabetes are facing an additional major health threat. Regretfully, we have seen that people living with diabetes can be more susceptible to the worst complications of COVID-19. We should worry that the legacy of the pandemic will see resources and attention focused on infectious diseases to the detriment of all noncommunicable diseases, including diabetes.
We therefore cannot wait any longer for diabetes medicine, technologies, support and care to be made available to all that require them.
The centenary of the discovery of insulin presents a unique opportunity to bring about meaningful change for the more than 460 million people living with diabetes and the millions more at risk. United, the global diabetes community has the numbers, the influence and the determination to bring about meaningful change. We need to take on the challenge.
It’s time for governments, policymakers and advocates to act to increase investment in diabetes care and prevention and ensure everyone living with diabetes can access the care they need.
The Centre de santé communautaire de l’Estrie’s (CSCE) Diabetes Education Program allows all people with diabetes or prediabetes to learn the skills they need to take an active role in managing their condition daily. The Diabetes Education Program team is made up of a dietitian and a nurse whose mandate is to teach people with diabetes to take charge of their health and manage their disease. To do this, one group session along with personalized follow-ups are offered on topics. The program is available at our Alexandria, Bourget, Cornwall and Embrun locations.