So far, it’s been 19 years since we entered the new era; an era where diabetes runs rampant among families. Our blood has too much sugar and our hearts beat without enough fresh blood. If we knew better we would have named the 21st Century – the era for Diabetes. And arguably so, it is the best era for diabetes.
According to a journal published by The Lancelet, we have already doubled the number of diabetics in the 1900s in just 19 years. In year 2000, 135 million people were believed to have diabetes and researchers used this information to predict the number of diabetics in 2030 to be 366 million. Sadly, in 2013, we already surpassed the number with 382 million people living with diabetes. The estimation for 2030 is now raised to 600 million.
Why Does the Number of Diabetics Keep Increasing?
Diabetes is a non-contagious disease which came out of urbanisation. As it got easier for us to access food, and commute to work on a car/bike, we started getting diabetes. Though the number of Type 1 diabetes cases increased as well, most diabetics have type 2 diabetes.
Researchers say it is more than just our life but a mother’s health during their time of pregnancy that may lead to diabetes. Though the illness came from the west, the number of those affected by diabetes keep increasing in developing or under-developed countries.
Research shows that while the percentage of diabetes patients increased by approximately 30% in the last 20 years in developed countries, it increased by 60 – 100% in developing to underdeveloped countries.
While the disease spreads like wildfire we are fighting back. Diabetes may be more abundant today than it was 30 years ago, but our doctors and researchers are constantly finding new and better ways to fight against diabetes. This makes the 21st century the best era for diabetes.
How is the 21st Century the Best Era For Diabetes
Naturally, with an increase in the number of diabetics around the world, there have been many attempts to understand the illness. In 2018 the Research Society for the Study of Diabetes in India (RSSDI) provided grants to 15 institutes all across India. These researches will hopefully make remarkable headway in understanding diabetes.
Diabetics today have many new products to make their lives comfortable and live at par with others. The first insulin came into the market during the 1920s. Before this, children with Type one diabetes died within a few years of getting it. Now, those with Type 1 diabetes can live long and fruitful lives and do pretty much anything they set out to do.
A study conducted in the 1980s show that those born after 1965 had the average life expectancy of 69 years. A recent study on the same topic showed the life expectancy of those with type 2 diabetes increased to 79 years.
Why is our life expectancy increasing? Because we have found ways to deal with diabetes related ailments. We now have equipment to keep our blood sugar in control, apps and devices to keep track of what we eat, how much to eat, and when to eat. All this helps us live a better life even with diabetes.
Things Every Diabetic is Grateful For
As much as we hate diabetes, there are products and equipment that make diabetes manageable. Here are a few:
1. Blood Sugar Testing Kit
This includes everything from the testing device, testing strips, anything that helps you read blood sugar levels. The first glucose testing strip came in 1965 and since then attempts were made to make it as precise, convenient and portable as possible.
2. Hypoglycaemia Products
These products include glucose tablets, glucose gel, glucagon for emergencies, and really anything that can raise blood sugar quickly in case of a hypoglycaemic episodes. Though you can drink fruit juices and have candy to raise blood sugar levels, glucose tablets and gel is very effective and easy to carry around. In case of a hypoglycaemic shock, friends and family can help with a glucagon kit which can save a life.
Though this may seem like it doesn’t help much, everyone with diabetes is grateful for awareness campaigns. It helps when people take initiative to understand diabetes.
Presently, there are restaurants that have planned healthy menus so that you can enjoy a meal without worrying about sugar spikes. Online diabetes communities gives people a sense of belonging. Other people with diabetes can easily understand what you are going through and we can support each other through the journey.
Some countries have made it mandatory for those with diabetes to carry a health card with them to make it easier to travel with ease. Diabetics carry pins, needles and equipment to manage their condition. Cooperation from security teams is always appreciated.
So, in small ways, it does help a diabetic person when non-diabetic people are aware of the condition.
Believe it or not but over the years, there have been a lot of research on diabetic footwear; particularly diabetic socks. And rightfully so as diabetics are most prone to foot problems. Now with comfortable diabetic socks coming in the market, it is easier for a person with diabetes to travel long distances without stopping for foot aches and discomfort.
So, with time, products for diabetes have become easy to carry on the go, and easy to use. This allows anyone with diabetes to live at par with everyone else. We hope that over the years it becomes easier for those with diabetes to get medical coverage for the sickness because diabetes (especially Type 1 diabetes) is an expensive illness to have. A few of us are privileged enough to afford it.
Lastly, we want to clarify that the purpose of this article was not to make light of the situation. We understand that the number of diabetics keep increasing every day. They numbers are scary but there is hope.
With more people learning about diabetes, taking precautions and managing diabetes we can call stare the illness in the eye and smile. Diabetes may be a part of us, but it does not define who we are.