World Diabetes Day (WDD) was created in 1991 by IDF and the World Health Organization in response to growing concerns about the escalating health threat posed by diabetes.
WDD is the world’s largest diabetes awareness campaign reaching a global audience of over 1 billion people in more than 160 countries. The campaign draws attention to issues of paramount importance to the diabetes world and keeps diabetes firmly in the public and political spotlight. The campaign aims 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.
But what is Diabetes?
Diabetes Mellitus primarily affects the Islets of Langerhans of the pancreas, where glucagon and insulin are produced. Glucagon raises the blood glucose level, while insulin lowers it. In Type 1 DM (Insulin Dependent), the loss of function of the beta cells leads to an absolute insulin deficiency. In Type 2 DM (Non-insulin Dependent), the impaired production and secretion of insulin by the beta cells is concommitant with the impaired ability of the tissues to utilize insulin (termed insulin resistance). The resulting accumulation of glucose in the blood is further elevated by the greater synthesis of glucose in the liver, which releases it to the general circulation.
What has that got to do with physiotherapy?
A sound, individually tailored exercise prescription is a cornerstone in the management of Diabetes Mellitus. For those with T2DM exercise is critical in addressing weight and inactivity which precipitates and worsens the disease process. As well as this more obvious effect, numerous studies show that a regular exercise program for diabetics has a profound effect on the regulation of their blood glucose levels. One example is “Physical Activity Advice Only or Structured Exercise Training and Association With HbA1c Levels in Type 2 Diabetes: A Systematic Review and Meta-analysis“. Taking this one step further, the management of the blood sugar levels also helps keep on top of, prevent and manage the complications of the disease such as fatigue, skin breakdown and loss of sensation.
As physiotherapists exercise is something we should encourage but it is important that we are aware of the considerations which need to be made when someone with diabetes is exercising. To get clued up on these guidelines make sure you read the brilliant Physiopedia page about Diabetes.
Remember, physiotherapy is important in all endrocrine conditions.