November is National Diabetes Awareness Month (NDAM) – an international celebration focused on raising awareness for all forms of diabetes, its signs and symptoms, and gain support for critical research toward preventing, better treating and curing all forms of the disease.
World Diabetes Day is celebrated annually on November 14. It was created in 1991 by the International Diabetes Federation (IDF) and the World Health Organization (WHO) in response to growing concerns about the escalating health threat posed by diabetes. Remarkably, two decades later diabetes is still a huge and growing burden.
The theme of World Diabetes Day 2016 is Eyes on Diabetes, with particular focus on promoting the importance of screening to ensure early diagnosis of type 2 diabetes and treatment to reduce the risk of serious complications.
Diabetes is a huge and growing burden: 415 million adults were living with diabetes in 2015 and this number is expected to increase to around 642 million or one in ten adults by 2040 .The proportion of people with type 2 diabetes is increasing in most countries .One in two adults with diabetes is undiagnosed .75% of adults with diabetes live in low- and middle-income countries .The greatest number of people with diabetes are between 40 and 59 years of age .Up to 70% of type 2 diabetes cases can be prevented or delayed by adopting healthier lifestyles, equivalent to up to 160 million cases by 2040 .Diabetes caused 5 million deaths in 2015; every six seconds a person dies from diabetes .12% of total global expenditure on health is currently spent on adults with diabetes .
Many diabetes complications can be picked up in the early stages by screening programmes. In many countries diabetes is a leading cause of blindness, cardiovascular disease, kidney failure and lower-limb amputation. Over one third of people with diabetes will develop vision loss, therefore it is crucial to advocate early screening programmes in order to prevent vision loss and blindness.
Of the 415 million adults worldwide living with diabetes in 2015, over one third will develop some form of diabetic retinopathy – a complication of diabetes that can lead to vision impairment and blindness .More than 93 million adults, or one in three, currently living with diabetes have diabetic retinopathy .The management of diabetes and its complications begins in primary health care and this should include screening for diabetic retinopathy.Early detection and timely treatment of diabetic retinopathy can prevent vision loss and reduce the impact of diabetes on individuals, their careers and society.Careful management of diabetes and screening for diabetic eye disease can help prevent visual impairment and blindness.
Throughout November and National Diabetes Awareness Month we are joining the cause to help promote the importance of early screening in order to prevent vision loss and blindness. It is a cause very near and dear to our own mission in RetinaLyze System. Stay tuned during November where we will host screening events, provide relevant information about preventing vision loss and detecting diabetic retinopathy in a timely manner.
 IDF Diabetes Atlas 7th edition www.idf.org/diabetesatlas www.idf.org/diabetesatlas
 Diabetes Eye Health: A Guide for Health www.idf.org/eyehealth