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World Diabetes Day: Tackling A Growing Global Health Threat

By HERWriter Guide
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Logo: International Diabetes Federation

The need for diabetes prevention, education and treatment is so strong that 200 diabetes associations in more than 160 countries have come together to advocate for patients. This effort has resulted in each November 14 being designated as “World Diabetes Day.”

The numbers are staggering.

• More than 285 million people worldwide have diabetes, including 24 million Americans.
• Of the 24 million, one fourth don’t even know they have diabetes.
• Another 57 million Americans have pre-diabetes.

In the U.S., the National Diabetes Education Program (NDEP) is celebrating World Diabetes Day 2010 by raising awareness about the importance of preventing Type 2 diabetes by focusing on family health history and gestational diabetes as important risk factors for developing diabetes. NDEP works with more than 200 federal, state and local partners and offers materials and resources to the general public, people diagnosed with diabetes, and health care and business professionals. This information can be found at www.YourDiabetesInfo.org

Left untreated, diabetes can lead to serious complications such as heart disease, stroke, kidney disease, blindness and amputation. For the estimated 57 million Americans with pre-diabetes, their condition places them at increased risk for developing Type 2 diabetes and heart disease.

Type 1 diabetes (once known as juvenile diabetes or insulin-dependent diabetes) usually begins in children and young adults. This is a chronic condition in which the pancreas produces little or no insulin, a hormone needed to allow sugar (glucose) to enter cells to produce energy.

Type 2 diabetes (once known as adult-onset or noninsulin-dependent diabetes) is the most common diabetes. The patient’s body is resistant to the effects of insulin or doesn't produce enough insulin to maintain a normal glucose level.

Many people with Type 2 diabetes have one or more family members with the disease, such as a mother, father, brother or sister. The NDEP encourages families to talk about their family's history of diabetes.

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We value and respect our HERWriters' experiences, but everyone is different. Many of our writers are speaking from personal experience, and what's worked for them may not work for you. Their articles are not a substitute for medical advice, although we hope you can gain knowledge from their insight.


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