October 21st 2020

World Diabetes Day 2020

14 November marks World Diabetes Day 2020. The International Diabetes Federation (IDF), which organises the day, is an umbrella organisation of over 230 national diabetes associations in 170 countries and territories. It represents the interests of the growing number of people with diabetes and those at risk. The Federation has been leading the global diabetes community since 1950.

Each year there is a theme for World Diabetes Day and the theme for 2020 is nurses and diabetes. The campaign in conjunction with the day aims to raise awareness around the crucial role that nurses play in supporting people living with diabetes.

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. According to the World Health Organization (WHO):

  • Nurses accounts for 59% of health professionals
  • The global nursing workforce is 27.9 million, of which 19.3 million are professional nurses
  • The global shortage of nurses in 2018 was 5.9 million. 89% of that shortage is concentrated in low- and middle-income countries
  • The number of nurses trained and employed needs to grow by 8% a year to overcome alarming shortfalls in the profession by 2030.
  • 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 condition.

Healthcare providers and governments must recognise the importance of investing in education and training. With the right expertise, nurses can make the difference for people affected by diabetes. Nurses play a key role in:

  • Diagnosing diabetes early to ensure prompt treatment
  • Providing self-management training and psychological support for people with diabetes to help prevent complications
  • Tackling the risk factors for type 2 diabetes to help prevent the condition
  • There remains a significant need for more education and funding to equip nurses around the world with the skills to support people living with diabetes and those at risk of developing type 2 diabetes.

Diabetics can be particularly prone to sight loss and face an increased risk in developing Diabetic retinopathy. Diabetic retinopathy is an eye disease that people living with diabetes are more at risk of developing.

If your blood glucose (sugar) levels and blood pressure are consistently high, you can seriously damage your blood vessels. There are lots of important blood vessels in your eyes, which help supply blood to the seeing part of the eye called the retina.

When these blood vessels are damaged, they can get blocked, leak or grow randomly. This means the retina can’t get the blood it needs and so can’t work properly. This means you won’t be able to see properly.

There are lots of things you can do to keep your blood sugars and your blood pressure in your target range. The more you do this, the lower your risk of developing serious problems with your eyes.

And if you do begin to develop eye complications, they can nearly always be treated to avoid long term problems – as long as they’re spotted and diagnosed in time.

On behalf of the OCCS, we would like to thank nurses across the world for their outstanding hardwork and commitment as we commemorate World Diabetes Day 2020. For more information on what you can do to support the campaign, visit: World Diabetes Day: How to Get Involved

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