Family is the Key for Detection, Prevention & Management of Diabetes! – World Diabetes Day Message

In the year 2017, International Diabetes Federation (IDF) reported that 425 million adults have diabetes worldwide; and India alone harbor 73 million adults with diabetes. With the projected escalating estimates year by year, there is an alarming diabetes prevalence as of today. What can we do to stop this? ‘Focus on Family!…Family is the Key for Detection, Prevention & Management of Diabetes - this is what the message on the occasion of World Diabetes Day (14th November)’- says Dr.M.Balasubramanyam, Dean of Research Studies & Senior Scientist from the Madras Diabetes Research Foundation, Chennai, India. The theme for World Diabetes Day-2018 is “The Family and Diabetes” – with an underlying message ‘diabetes concerns every family’.

Background of World Diabetes Day: November 14th is globally observed as World Diabetes Day – aimed at raising diabetes awareness and calling for urgent action to tackle the diabetes epidemic. The date was chosen because it marks the birthday of Frederick Banting, who, along with Charles Best, is credited with the discovery of insulin. World Diabetes Day was created in 1991 by the International Diabetes Federation and the World Health Organization in response to growing concerns about the escalating health threat that diabetes now poses. World Diabetes Day became an official United Nations Day in 2007 with the passage of United Nation Resolution. This landmark resolution also recognized diabetes as “a chronic, debilitating and costly disease associated with major complications that pose severe risks for families, countries and the entire world.” Until 2006, there was no global symbol for diabetes. A ‘blue circle’ logo is now the universal symbol for diabetes which was adopted in 2007 passage of the United Nations World Diabetes Day Resolution. The blue circle signifies the unity of the global diabetes community in response to the diabetes pandemic. In recent years, blue lightings are used on monuments and buildings as a part of the World Diabetes Day activity all over the world.

Focus on Family: Since 1991, each year World Diabetes Day is centered on a theme related to diabetes. The theme for World Diabetes Day 2018 and 2019 is The Family and Diabetes. A two-year timeframe has been chosen to best facilitate the two following aims through vigorous public campaigns: a) To raise awareness of the impact that diabetes has on the family and support network of those affected and b) To promote the role of the family in the management, care, prevention and education of diabetes.

Living with diabetes imposes life-long demands on people with diabetes, requiring them to make multiple decisions related to managing their condition. People with diabetes need to monitor their blood glucose, take medication, exercise regularly and adjust their eating habits. Without diabetes education and family support, people with diabetes are less prepared to take informed decisions, make behavioural changes, address the psycho-social issues presented by diabetes and, ultimately, may be ill-equipped to manage their diabetes effectively. Poor management will result in reduced health outcomes and an increased likelihood of developing diabetic complications. Type 2 diabetes is largely preventable through regular physical activity, a healthy and balanced diet, and the promotion of healthy living environments. Thus, families have a key role to play in addressing the modifiable risk factors for type 2 diabetes and must be provided with the education, resources and environments to live a healthy lifestyle.

'Diabetes Prevention is in your Mom’s hands!'-says Dr.Balasubramanyam. While the focus worldwide is to prevent diabetes – one way to prevent diabetes is to take care of the women during their pregnancy. Transient diabetes occurs in certain women during their pregnancy. This is called gestational diabetes mellitus (GDM).The prevalence of GDM is increasing worldwide especially in developing countries. In India the prevalence of GDM is as high as 20%. It is crucial to detect women with GDM as the condition is associated with diverse range of adverse maternal and neonatal outcomes, ie. health burden not only to the mother but also to the offspring at a later stage of the life. In addition, having a history of GDM puts the mother at risk for the development of Type 2 diabetes mellitus or recurrent GDM. Therefore, taking care of the mother during the pregnancy and following the post natal periods with appropriate medical care would prevent diabetes in the mother and also prevent diabetes development in the offspring at a later stage. Diabetes is a Family issue, indeed.

DADs(!) can rescue diabetics and could offer day and night service: It may be hard to believe; but true and evidence-based science. The evidence available in the current scientific literature attests that diabetes alerting dogs (DADs) have a high-caliber sniffing efficiency for warning owners of episodes of hypoglycemia (low glucose in the blood) or hyperglycemia (high glucose in the blood), day and especially in nights, with high sensitivity and specificity. Dog is the first animal to be domesticated by humans, and is now universally regarded as the “man’s best friend”. In the world we live in today, dogs are part of our families. The olfactory system from the nose of the dog has the capacity to detect even negligible amounts of volatile organic compounds (VOCs) and this can be exploited to detect the breath or sweat of the diabetic patients that changes accordingly to the extent of potentially dangerous variations of blood glucose concentrations. The most frequent dogs’ alert behaviors were vocalizations, licking, staring intently at owner’s face, nuzzling or jumping. Awareness on glucose variations is more important for the diabetic patients especially in nights when they suffer with low glucose levels and become helpless. ‘At a time, when World Diabetes Day is insisting on Family support, let’s have a buy one get two approach; buy a pet dog and train it to become a diabetes alerting family member’ – says Dr.Balasubramanyam.

Health assurance by Family: Women, as mothers, have a huge influence over the long-term health status of their children. Research has shown that when mothers are granted greater control over resources, they allocate more to food, children’s health and nutrition, and education. Women are the gatekeepers of household nutrition and lifestyle habits and therefore have the potential to drive prevention from the household and beyond. Thus, by choosing healthy food choices and parental care, a mother can prevent her daughter or son to become obese and thereby prevent diabetes. Therefore, Diabetes prevention is in your mom’s hands. Family does matter in Diabetes Prevention as well as Management.

Treat the diabetic patient but train the family too! Recent reports imply that 1 in 2 people currently living with type 2 diabetes is undiagnosed. All families are potentially affected by diabetes and so awareness of the signs, symptoms and risk factors for all types of diabetes are vital to help detect it early. Diabetes can be expensive for the individual and family. In many countries, the cost of insulin injection and daily monitoring alone can consume half of a family’s average disposable income, and regular and affordable access to essential diabetes medicines are out of reach for too many. Improving access to affordable diabetes medicines and care is therefore urgent to avoid increased costs for the individual and family, which impact on health outcomes. While family support in diabetes care has been shown to have a substantial effect in improving health outcomes for people with diabetes, it’s a fact that less than 1 in 4 family members have access to diabetes education programmes. Patient- and family-centered care is an approach to the planning, delivery, and evaluation of health care that is grounded in mutually beneficial partnerships among health care providers, patients, and families. So the message is clear: ‘Treat the diabetic patient; but train the family too to achieve ideal health benefits’ – says Dr.Balasubramanyam

Resource Link:

Balasubramanyam photo Dr.M.Balasubramanyam, PhD., MNASc., FAPASc is Dean of Research Studies & Senior Scientist at the Madras Diabetes Research Foundation (MDRF) in Chennai, India. Dr. Balasubramanyam's specialization is in Disease Biology; Molecular pathogenesis of diabetes and its vascular complications including diabetic retinopathy; Vascular Biology and signaling studies on VSMC; Clinical significance and subclinical relevance of cellular and molecular alterations in metabolic diseases; Mechanisms of accelerated senescence (ageing) and telomere biology; Insulin signaling & Proteomics; Epigenetics; RNAi and miRNA, gut microbiome aspects of diabetes, Unraveling mechanisms of hyperglycemic memory, Calcium & Redox signaling, Proinflammation, Oxidative stress, ER stress, AGE pathway and biomarker(s) identification; Role of Endocrine Disruptors in diabetes; Bioprospecting herbal molecules; Non-invasive point-of-care (POC) clinical measures and medical devices.
Log in or register for free to continue reading
Register Now For Free Already Registered? Log In
This entry was posted in Diabetes, In The News and tagged . Volume: .

Post a Comment

You must be logged in to post a comment.