Remember palliative care on World Health Day

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Diabetes caused the death of 1.5 million people in 2012 and, like palliative care, 80% of those were in low and middle income countries.

There are two types of diabetes. The first type is when the body is unable to produce insulin and the second is when the body can’t effectively use the insulin it produces.

Type 1 diabetes often occurs in children. We don’t know the causes and risk factors.

However, type 2 diabetes is potentially preventable. The majority of cases of diabetes are type 2, though reports of type 2 in children are increasing. Obesity and sedentary lifestyle are associated with type 2 diabetes.

People with diabetes can live long and healthy lives if they are careful to control the sugar in their blood through diet, medication, physical activity, and regular testing.

Unfortunately, basic medical services like these are not always available in low and middle income countries where diabetes is most prevalent.

Without these preventive measures many people are at risk of blindness, kidney failure and amputation due to poor circulation and neuropathy.

Palliative care is an important component of care for those with advanced diabetes and neuropathy.

Once damage is done it can be progressive and we see many people with these health problems leading to premature death.

It is important for palliative care providers to help educate at risk people to prevent diabetes and to connect them to treatment.

And for those with far advanced illness, palliative care can relieve terrible pain and suffering associated with end-stage diabetes.

Today is World Health Day and we all need to raise awareness so that we can prevent and treat diabetes, and when necessary provide effective palliative care for those in need.

You can find out more about World Health Day on the World Health Organization website

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