“Stay Super” – Beat #Diabetes

Photo Credit: “Stay Super: Beat Diabetes” Credit:WHO

Diabetes, left untreated, is a killer; and it is on the rise, alarmingly so. According to the World Health Organization: “In 1980, 108 million adults were living with diabetes. By 2014, that number had risen to 422 million, or 8.5 per cent of adults. Diabetes now causes some 1.5 million deaths a year. High blood glucose causes an additional 2.2 million deaths.” (See: “On World Health Day, UN Urges Global Efforts to Halt Rise in Diabetes” )

This year, diabetes is the focus of World Health Day, and UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon calls for global efforts to stem the tide of this preventable and treatable disease through healthy lifestyles. This means combating obesity with more exercise and a nutritious diet. It translates to more education and diagnostics for those living with the disease and access to insulin and medicines.

Unfortunately, those guidelines are beyond the purview of many in low and middle-income countries and affect those most in poverty.  “Around 100 years after the insulin hormone was discovered, the ‘Global report on diabetes’ shows that essential diabetes medicines and technologies, including insulin, needed for treatment are generally available in only 1 in 3 of the world’s poorest countries,” says WHO Director.

While it is true that poor nutrition, obesity, sedentary lifestyle, and heredity play a part in Type II Diabetes, which comprises over 90% of diabetes cases, Insulin-Dependent Diabetics (or Type I Diabetics/Juvenile Diabetics) have a pancreas that stops producing insulin or an inadequate amount. I am a Type I diabetic, on the thin side and physically active, who developed diabetes in my early thirties, not as a juvenile.  In my case, this auto-immune disease was triggered by an infection — Lyme Disease from a tick bite. I have heard of other cases following Scarlet Fever.

A third type of diabetes is gestational diabetes developed during pregnancy, which may disappear after childbirth. However, these women and their offspring have an increased future risk of Type 2 diabetes.

Diabetes,which is a non-communicable disease, also affects health systems and economies of countries with lost wages and increased medical costs. Even in the United States where I am fortunate enough to have major health insurance cover, my costs are astronomical for my simple insulin pen.  As access to insulin is a simple matter of life and death for many diabetics, we need a health system and pharmaceuticals who betterparticipate to help us “Stay Super: Beat Diabetes.”

(For more stories, see: “Orlando Bloom Looks into the Eyes of Ebola, a Very Young Face” , “All In” to End Adolescent AIDS” , “World Bank & Sesame Street #Muppets Join for Health” and

Diplomat Artist Category Archives: “Global Citizen

By, Susan Sacirbey


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