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How can we help Beat Diabetes? World Health Day 2016

Posted on April 07, 2016
Archive : April 2016
Category : Blog

Every year the World Health Organisation (WHO) celebrate their birthday, Thursday the 7th April, by concentrating on a single area of global public health concern, raising awareness and directing efforts towards eradicating the dangers of the disease or threat.

This year WHO has decided to focus on a disease that is not only an issue in the UK but is a major global problem. Diabetes affects 422 million people across the globe, with 60 million just in Europe, so this year WHO are campaigning to Beat Diabetes.

What is happening this World Health Day?

Diabetes is not only a health issue but also causes substantial economic problems for families affected by diabetes and national economies through medical costs and loss of work and wages. WHO have released a report on the state of diabetes globally, as well as providing materials anyone can use to raise awareness. Each country and nation is at different stages of the fight against Diabetes but the WHO have designed posters that can be used around the world on the 7th April.

Halt the rise’- by raising the awareness of Diabetes globally.

halt the rise posterThe global increase in diabetes is partly due to a lack of physical activity and rising levels of overweight and obesity. According to the International Diabetic Federation, 46.5% of adults with diabetes are undiagnosed. An increase in awareness is crucial to be able to diagnose and treat these individuals. (diabeteseatlas.org)

If in any doubt, check’

if in doubt check

Symptoms include hunger thirst, blurred vision weight loss and fatigue. Not all people with

diabetes have symptoms. If in any doubt – check with your health care professional.

Be Active’ and ‘Eat Healthy’!

be activeA large proportion of diabetes cases could be prevented. The onset of Type 2 diabeteseat healthy can be delayed or prevented by following healthy lifestyle choices. These healthier lifestyle choices will also help people manage their Type 1 or Type 2 if they already have it. Regular, daily exercise, eating a healthy diet and maintaining a normal body weight are key to a healthy lifestyle free of diabetes, or at least well under control.

‘Follow Medical Advice’

Diabetes and the control of blood glucose levels can be managed via a range of treatments and medical advice:

healthy eating

being active

appropriate medication.

Blood pressure control

Stopping smoking

Attend all health checks, including foot and eye checks. Over time, diabetes can damage the heart, blood vessels, eyes kidneys and nerves, so regular checks are essential

Check feet daily for any changes –there is an increased risk of ulcers, infection and amputation due to reduced blood flow and nerve damage in the feet. See our Guidelines on ‘What should I be looking for on my feet?’

At Solesee we know how important it is to control and help prevent diabetes, as having the condition can lead to many other complications, including problems with your nerves, blood vessels and feet. There is limited knowledge and information available on foot care and the importance of daily foot checks for patients suffering from diabetes, so this World Health Day we want to raise awareness of the impact diabetes can have on the feet.

Diabetes and nerves

We don’t mean the shaky sweaty palm kind here, although coming to terms with diabetes can be a nervous time. Nerve damage is a huge element of living with diabetes, and it’s not talked about nearly enough. Nerve damage can lead to wounds that won’t heal and the possibility of becoming one of the 135 diabetic amputations every week. But how exactly does diabetes equal amputation of your feet? To explain that we need to understand the disease itself:

1) Diabetes is a disease that affects the way our body creates and uses insulin. Insulin is created in the pancreas and it is vital as it is the only way glucose from our food can be absorbed into the body’s cells for energy.

2) Type 1 diabetes occurs when the pancreas is unable to produce any insulin at all. This means the glucose cannot be absorbed into the cells without the help of insulin from another source i.e. injections or an insulin pump.

3) Type 2 diabetes is slightly more complicated, as the pancreas is able to produce some insulin initially, but the body rejects the insulin, meaning the glucose still can’t be absorbed into the cells. In this instance, however, the insulin is still in the body, but the body keeps creating more insulin as the cells think there isn’t any, and so glucose and insulin levels continue to rise.

4) Increased glucose levels over a period of time results in damage to the blood vessels. This affects the supply of blood to the feet, so less blood gets to the skin, muscles and tissues. If there is an open wound on the foot, having a reduced blood supply to the feet will make these wounds slower to heal if at all. An increased level of glucose also provides an environment where bacteria thrive so there is an increased level of bacteria present anyway. This is key in understanding the dangers of wounds on feet, as if they are unable to heal and become infected, they may eventually need to be amputated.

5) The nerves themselves become damaged because of the high glucose levels too. Too much sugar in the blood damages the smaller blood vessels which supply blood to the nerve endings. Without the proper nutrients and blood getting to them, nerve endings will struggle to function and can completely disappear.

6) With no feeling in your feet and the complication of wounds being slow to heal, any injury to your feet could go completely unnoticed and very quickly escalate to a wound that won’t go away. If untreated or unable to be sorted out, eventually the toe or entire foot will be too damaged to save, and amputation will have to occur.

That’s why it is so important to check your feet as often as possible - at least once a day - to ensure you have not injured your feet without realising and to keep an eye on any changes that may occur.

Do something now as result of WHO’s ‘Beat Diabetes Day’

If you are in any doubt about having possible symptoms of diabetes, make an appointment today with your health professional. You can also encourage any of your family members that you feel may be at risk of diabetes to get themselves checked. If you are already diabetic, start checking your feet today. Use the download for information on how to check and what to check for, and take a look at the feet conditions pages of the Solesee website for any more information.

For more information on the World Health Day 2016 : Beat Diabetes go to www.who.int/campaigns/world-health-day/2016

 

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