The number of people with diabetes is increasing rapidly across the globe. Nearly one in two (46%) of the 415 million adults living with diabetes are unaware that they have the condition. Most of these cases are type 2 diabetes.
On the occasion of World Diabetes Day on 14 November, the International Diabetes Federation (IDF) is highlighting the urgent need to screen, diagnose and provide appropriate treatment to people with diabetes. The earlier a person is diagnosed, the earlier interventions can be initiated that provide durable effects on the harmful and costly complications of diabetes. “Eyes on Diabetes” is the theme of World Diabetes Day. It is a call for action to screen people at risk of type 2 diabetes, and screen people living with diabetes for complications.
Accessible tools exist to help identify people with undiagnosed type 2 diabetes and those at risk of developing it in the future. As there are known risk factors for type 2 diabetes such as overweight, family history and sedentary lifestyle, a number of risk assessment scores have been developed in order to help identify those at high risk. Early lifestyle intervention can protect their future health and reduce health costs required to treat complications. That is why IDF is encouraging the global community to screen for type 2 diabetes this World Diabetes Day. A simple risk assessment form is accessible on the World Diabetes Day website.
The increased prevalence of diabetes means that more and more people are developing diabetes complications, such as diabetic retinopathy, a complication that can lead to blindness if left untreated. Over one third of people with diabetes will develop diabetic retinopathy during their lifetime. Findings from a new international study published today indicate that 25% of people living with diabetes surveyed are not discussing eye complications with their healthcare professional, with many presenting when vision problems have already occurred.5 Equally alarming, half of all healthcare providers surveyed for the study did not have written protocols for the detection and management of diabetes-related vision issues.
Significantly increased education for the prevention, detection and treatment of diabetes and its associated complications is required for both people with diabetes and healthcare professionals. To this end, World Diabetes Day 2016 marks the launch of the IDF School of Diabetes*, a global online platform providing a source of education and certified courses on various aspects of diabetes prevention and care to help address the gaps that currently exist in the provision of quality care for people with diabetes around the world.
"If we are to win the battle against diabetes, we have to empower health professionals so that they are best equipped to address all aspects of diabetes," said Dr Shaukat Sadikot, President of IDF. "Certain components of the School will be open access and deal with basic education and information for people with diabetes as well as their healthcare providers, while the certified courses are aimed at physicians, both specialists and primary care physicians, and diabetes educators," he added.
This November, the global diabetes community is uniting under the “Eyes on Diabetes” theme with awareness activities scheduled in over 100 countries. IDF intends to achieve 1 million individual screenings for type 2 diabetes and diabetes complications recorded on the World Diabetes Day website by the end of November.