By Abria Cooper
Saturday, November 14 th , 2020 will mark World Diabetes Day, where healthcare professionals
along with the rest of the world’s population will work together in raising awareness about this
non communicable disease.
World Diabetes Day was created in 1991 by International Diabetes Federation (IDF) and the
World Health Organization in response to growing concerns about the escalating health threat
posed by diabetes. World Diabetes Day became an official United Nations Day in 2006 with the
passage of United Nation Resolution 61/225.
The purpose of the World Diabetes Day campaign is to be the platform to promote IDF advocacy
efforts throughout the year. Be the global driver to promote the importance of taking
coordinated and concerted actions to confront diabetes as a critical global health issue.
The campaign is represented by a blue circle logo that was adopted in 2007 after the passage of
the UN Resolution on diabetes. The blue circle is the global symbol for diabetes awareness. It
signifies the unity of the global diabetes community in response to the diabetes epidemic.
Every year, World Diabetes Day is informed by a specific theme which runs over one or multiple
years. The theme for World Diabetes Day 2018-19 is Family and Diabetes.
The theme for 2020 is Nurses Make the Difference. It will promote education and funding which
are vital to support healthcare professionals in the fight against diabetes. This year’s campaign
focuses on promoting the role of nurses in the prevention and management of diabetes. Learn
more about the theme and key messages and view the resources available.
The IDF states that nurses currently account for over half of the global health workforce. They
do outstanding work to support people living with a wide range of health concerns. People who
either live with diabetes or are at risk of developing the condition need their support too.
People living with diabetes face a number of challenges, and education is vital to equip nurses
with the skills to support them.
As the number of people with diabetes continues to rise across the world, the role of nurses and
other health professional support staff becomes increasingly important in managing the impact of
The IDF notes that healthcare providers and governments must recognize the importance of
investing in education and training. With the right expertise, nurses can make the difference for
people affected by diabetes.
Key messages for the campaign are resources, get involved, and share your WDD activity.
According to the IDF’s website which was updated this year, The Bahamas is one of the
countries of the IDF NAC region. 463 million people have diabetes in the world and more than
48 million people in the NAC Region; by 2045 this will rise to 63 million. The site lists that the
Bahamas’ total adult population is 286,900. Prevalence of diabetes in adults is 9.4 percent and
the total number of cases of diabetes in adults is 26,900.
In 2005 the Communicable Disease Prevalence Study was conducted by the Ministry of Health.
It showed that 6.7 percent of the local population, about 23,000 people, were pre-diabetic, and
9.2 percent, around 32,000 people, had diabetes.
According to figures released by the International Diabetes Federation (IDF), in 2014 The
Bahamas had 34,900 people with diabetes. The figures did not include those who are pre-
Diabetes mellitus refers to a group of diseases that affect how your body uses blood sugar also
known as glucose. Glucose is important to your health because it is an important source of
energy for the cells that make up your muscles and tissues. It’s also the brain’s main source of
Glucose comes from two major sources: food and the liver. Sugar is absorbed into the
bloodstream, where it enters cells with the help of insulin. Liver stores and makes glucose.
When glucose levels are low, such as when you have not eaten in a while, the liver breaks down
stored glycogen into glucose to keep your glucose level within a normal range.
No matter what type of diabetes you have, it can lead to excess sugar in your blood. Too much
sugar in your blood can lead to serious health problems.
Chronic diabetes conditions include type 1 diabetes and type 2 diabetes. Potentially reversible
diabetes conditions include prediabetes and gestational diabetes. Prediabetes occurs when your
blood sugar levels are higher than normal, but not high enough to be classified as diabetes. And
prediabetes is often the precursor of diabetes unless appropriate measures are taken to prevent
progression. Gestational diabetes occurs during pregnancy but may resolve after the baby is
Type 1 diabetes can develop at any age, though it often appears during childhood or adolescence.
Type 2 diabetes, the more common type, can develop at any age, though it’s more common in
people older than 40.
Some of the signs and symptoms of type 1 diabetes and type 2 diabetes are; increased thirst,
frequent urination, extreme hunger, unexplained weight loss, presence of ketones in the urine,
ketones are a byproduct of the breakdown of muscle and fat that happens when there’s not
enough available insulin, fatigue, irritability, blurred vision, slow-healing sores
Other symptoms include frequent infections, such as gums or skin infections and vaginal
After receiving a positive diagnosis, people with diabetes are often referred to certain treatments.
People with type 1 diabetes need insulin therapy to survive. Many people with type 2 diabetes or
gestational diabetes also need insulin therapy.
Different types of insulin are available, including short-acting regular insulin, rapid-acting
insulin, long-acting insulin and intermediate options. Insulin cannot be taken orally to lower
blood sugar because stomach enzymes interfere with insulin’s action. Often insulin is injected
using a fine needle and syringe or an insulin pen, a device that looks like a large ink pen.
An insulin pump also may be an option. The pump is a device about the size of a small cellphone
worn on the outside of your body. A tube connects the reservoir of insulin to a catheter that’s
inserted under the skin of your abdomen.
A tubeless pump that works wirelessly is also now available. You program an insulin pump to
dispense specific amounts of insulin. It can be adjusted to deliver more or less insulin depending
on meals, activity level and blood sugar level.
An artificial pancreas is also called closed-loop insulin delivery. The implanted device links a
continuous glucose monitor, which checks blood sugar levels every five minutes, to an insulin
pump. The device automatically delivers the correct amount of insulin when the monitor
indicates it’s needed.
Sometimes other oral or injected medications are prescribed as well. Some diabetes medications
stimulate your pancreas to produce and release more insulin. Others inhibit the production and
release of glucose from your liver, which means you need less insulin to transport sugar into
In some people who have type 1 diabetes, a pancreas transplant may be an option. Islet
transplants are being studied as well. With a successful pancreas transplant, you would no longer
need insulin therapy.
Transplants are not always successful and these procedures pose serious risks. You need a
lifetime of immune-suppressing drugs to prevent organ rejection. These drugs can have serious
side effects, which is why transplants are usually reserved for people whose diabetes can’t be
controlled or those who also need a kidney transplant.
Long-term complications of diabetes develop gradually. The longer people with diabetes neglect
to treat and manage the disease properly the more likely they are to experience a variety of
Diabetes dramatically increases the risk of various cardiovascular problems, including coronary
artery disease with chest pain known as angina, heart attack, stroke and narrowing of arteries
known as atherosclerosis. If you have diabetes, you’re more likely to have heart disease or stroke.
Excess sugar can injure the walls of the tiny blood vessels or capillaries that nourish your nerves,
especially in your legs. This can cause tingling, numbness, burning or pain that usually begins at
the tips of the toes or fingers and gradually spreads upward.
Left untreated, you could lose all sense of feeling in the affected limbs. Damage to the nerves
related to digestion can cause problems with nausea, vomiting, diarrhea or constipation. For men,
it may lead to erectile dysfunction.
The kidneys contain millions of tiny blood vessel clusters known as glomeruli that filter waste
from your blood. Diabetes can damage this delicate filtering system. Severe damage can lead to
kidney failure or irreversible end-stage kidney disease, which may require dialysis or a kidney
Diabetes can damage the blood vessels of the retina known as diabetic retinopathy, potentially
leading to blindness. Diabetes also increases the risk of other serious vision conditions, such as
cataracts and glaucoma.
Nerve damage in the feet or poor blood flow to the feet increases the risk of various foot
complications. Left untreated, cuts and blisters can develop serious infections, which often heal
poorly. These infections may ultimately require toe, foot or leg amputation.
Diabetes may leave you more susceptible to skin problems, including bacterial and fungal
Hearing problems are more common in people with diabetes. Type 2 diabetes may increase the
risk of dementia, such as Alzheimer’s disease. The poorer your blood sugar control, the greater
the risk appears to be. Although there are theories as to how these disorders might be connected,
none has yet been proved.
Depression symptoms are common in people with type 1 and type 2 diabetes and can affect