World Diabetes Day is marked on November 14 all over the world to raise awareness about the disease. Diabetes is a condition in which a person has high blood sugar due to an inability to produce, or inability to metabolize, sufficient quantities of insulin, the hormone that regulates blood sugar.
Diabetes falls into two categories:
Type 1 diabetes: It is characterized by deficient insulin production and requires daily administration of insulin. Symptoms include: excessive excretion of urine (polyuria), thirst (polydipsia), constant hunger, weight loss, fatigue and vision changes.
Type 2 diabetes: It results from the body’s ineffective use of insulin. Until recently, this type has been found more in adults but it is now increasingly occurring in children.
The good news is that type 2 diabetes can be prevented or delayed with some simple lifestyle changes, including maintaining a healthy body weight, taking part in at least 30 minutes of regular, moderate-intensity activity on most days, eating a healthy diet, avoiding sugar and saturated fats, and avoiding tobacco use, which increases the risk of diabetes and cardiovascular diseases.
The global prevalence of diabetes among adults over 18 years of age has risen from 4.7% in 1980 to 8.5% in 2014. The World Health Organization projects that diabetes will be the seventh leading cause of death in 2030. A simple blood sugar test can help diagnose the condition earlier and therefore help patients start effective treatment to avoid complications.
The Kenya Ministry of Health, in partnership with Amref Health Africa through Healthy Heart Africa, County Governments and other partners conducted awareness and screening activities throughout Kenya to mark World Diabetes Day.
The main event was at Ack St. Paul’s Cathedral in Embu County where children and parents learned how to prepare healthy food. The Cabinet Secretary and Principal Secretary of the Ministry of Health took part, which helped to draw a large crowd. World Diabetes Day events also took place in Nyeri, Narok, Makueni, Machakos, Kajiado and Kiambu among other counties.