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Clinical Articles, Lead Article

World Diabetes Day “Eye-lights” the global diabetes pandemic

November 14 was World Diabetes Day (WDD), a worldwide initiative to raise awareness and understanding of the global diabetes pandemic. To mark this event, Andrew Lansley, CBE MP, Secretary of State for Health was principal guest speaker at a meeting bringing together members of the diabetes community as part of a reception focusing on issues currently faced by patients, healthcare professionals, politicians and policy makers throughout the UK. To coincide with this reception, the Merlin Entertainments London Eye was illuminated blue, representing the WDD blue circle logo.

The number of people affected by diabetes continues to increase at an alarming rate. Over 2.8 million people in the UK are currently living with the disease and by 2025 it is estimated that this will increase to over 4 million people die to ageing populations, sedentary lifestyles and increasing rates of obesity. A further estimated 1 million are living with type 2 diabetes but are not aware of it. Throughout the week preceding WDD the International Diabetes Federation (IDF) will also be projecting a selection of hard hitting diabetes facts and figures onto London’s Shell Tower to highlight this growing pandemic.

london-eye2“Diabetes can affect anyone, at anytime,” notes Sir Michael Hirst, the President-Elect of the IDF. “Raising awareness of diabetes, the risk factors and warning signs and encouraging people to seek help if they have concerns is therefore vital. It is also important for us to help people with diabetes better understand the condition to promote effective management and prevention of complications such as cardiovascular disease.”

WDD was created by the IDF and the World Health Organization (WHO) and its member associations in 1991, and is held every year on November 14. The campaign slogan for 2010 is ‘Let’s take control of diabetes. Now.’ with a focus on raising awareness of diabetes, prevention and effective management of the disease.

Within the UK, it is currently estimated that 10% of the NHS budget is spent on diabetes. This works out at £9 billion a year or £1 million per hour. Around 7% of this is attributable to the cost of prescription medicines and a significant proportion is made up of the costs of treating serious long-term complications of the disease. Currently 40% of people in the UK with diabetes are at high risk of complications because their glucose control is not to target. As well as raising awareness among the general public, this year’s WDD campaign aims to improve the knowledge of people with diabetes to help facilitate effective management of the disease and prevent such complications.

Novo Nordisk and Bayer Diabetes Care are supporting WDD through the sponsorship of diabetes awareness imaging on London’s Shell Tower. Both companies are dedicated to advancing diabetes care for the benefit of the growing number of people living with diabetes.

“Novo Nordisk believes promoting greater awareness of diabetes and encouraging best-practice sharing throughout global diabetes communities, is key to fighting this disease,” said Viggo Birch, Managing Director of Novo Nordisk UK and Ireland. “World Diabetes Day is an important event for us and the rest of the diabetes community and we are pleased to support this campaign.”

Sarah Millington, Chief Executive, of Bayer Diabetes Care in the UK added, “Bayer is proud to be associated with IDF and to play its part in activities, such as the World Diabetes Day reception and the diabetes awareness imaging on Shell Tower, which aim to increase awareness, prevention and education in the field of diabetes.”

Published on: November 12, 2010

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