Initiated by the International Diabetes Federation (IDF) and the World Health Organisation (WHO), World Diabetes Day is held every year on 14 November to raise awareness of the risks of this chronic disease and possible means of prevention.
This year, the WHO is emphasising the importance of knowing your risk of developing type 2 diabetes, because "Knowing the risks is knowing your response". Worldwide, one person in ten is currently affected by diabetes, which represents around 537 million people. Almost half of them are unaware that they are living with the disease. If diabetes is not detected and treated early, it can lead to complications throughout the body. People at risk of developing type 2 diabetes need to be aware of their risk and how to deal with it.
In Luxembourg, the number of people living with diabetes currently stands at 35,000, and every year more than 900 people are diagnosed with the disease. It is essential that they receive reliable information, have access to the most suitable treatments and tools to help them manage their disease, in order to prevent and delay complications.
Awareness-raising campaigns are planned to help people find out if they are at risk of developing diabetes, and to support those already living with the disease. Local players are also on hand throughout the year to support people affected by diabetes.
Awareness-raising activities planned for World Diabetes Day
This year, during the week of World Diabetes Day, the Health Directorate and the Syndicat des pharmaciens luxembourgeois (SPL), a federation affiliated to the Luxembourg Confederation, with the support of the Association luxembourgeoise du diabète (ALD), will be launching an awareness and risk assessment campaign in a number of pharmacies across the country. From 13 to 18 November, people who have never been diagnosed will be able to visit participating pharmacies to find out about the risks of diabetes and have themselves tested.
A "10,000 steps against diabetes" solidarity walk is being organised by the Association luxembourgeoise du diabète (ALD) in conjunction with the Fédération luxembourgeoise de marche populaire (FLMP), and will take place on Sunday 12 November in Hesperange.
An evening of lectures entitled "Le diabète en questions" will be held on 14 November in the auditorium of the HRS-Kirchberg hospital (9, rue Edward Steichen, L-2540 Luxembourg).
Hospitals across the country will also be organising information sessions on diabetes and offering people the chance to have their risk tested during World Diabetes Day on 14 November. The Centre hospitalier du Luxembourg (CHL), the Centre hospitalier du Nord (CHdN), the Centre hospitalier Emile Mayrisch (CHEM) and the Robert Schumann Hospitals (HRS) will be taking part in this operation.
More information on the agenda of sante.lu.
The Diabetes House to help with diabetes information and prevention
In Luxembourg, you can consult the ALD's Maison du diabète, a service which celebrated its 20th anniversary this year and whose main aim is to promote health literacy among people living with diabetes, to help them better understand and self-manage their disease and prevent type 2 diabetes or its late complications. It offers individual care and personalised advice from a nurse and/or dietician specialising in diabetes education, as well as a wide range of courses and group information sessions. It also works closely with the diabetes departments of Luxembourg's four hospitals, through regular exchanges with members of the INFEDIAB group (Nurses for Diabetes Education) of the Société luxembourgeoise de diabétologie.
Prevention to act on risk factors
According to the WHO definition, diabetes is a chronic disease that develops when the pancreas does not produce enough insulin (the hormone that regulates blood sugar levels) or when the body does not use the insulin it does produce properly. Untreated or poorly balanced diabetes, which frequently leads to hyperglycaemia (high blood sugar levels), can in the long term lead to irreversible complications (blood vessels, nerves, eyes, kidneys, etc.).
While there is no way of preventing type 1 diabetes, which is an autoimmune disease, it is possible to take preventive action against type 2 diabetes, which accounts for the majority of diabetes cases worldwide and is often associated with being overweight, eating poorly and being sedentary. It is therefore advisable to:
Monitor your body mass index (BMI), bearing in mind that health risks increase with a BMI of over 25 in adults
Practise regular physical activity or at least be more active on a daily basis
Adopt healthier, more balanced eating habits, and eat fewer foods high in fat and sugar, especially sugary drinks and soft drinks
Consult your doctor and have your blood sugar levels monitored if you have any doubts.
Press release by the Ministry of Health