World Diabetes Day is held annually on November 14, the same day in 1922 insulin was discovered by Sir Frederick Banting and Charles Best. Diabetes is a chronic condition characterised by high levels of glucose in the blood. As the incidence of diabetes has increased, so too has the awareness of diabetes in the community. The theme of WDD for 2020 is ‘The Nurse and Diabetes,’ aiming to raise awareness around the crucial role that nurses play in supporting those living with diabetes. Diabetes sufferers face a number of challenges, and education is vital to equip nurses with the skills to support them.
The main types of diabetes are type 1 diabetes, type 2 diabetes and gestational diabetes. In truth though, we think there are many more sub-types that fall in each of these categories.
Type 1 diabetes
- Type 1 diabetes is an autoimmune condition in which the immune system is activated to target the cells in the pancreas which produce insulin. We do not know what causes this autoimmune reaction. There are a number of theories, and this may represent a number of driving causes.
Type 2 diabetes
- Type 2 diabetes is a progressive condition in which the body becomes resistant to the normal effects of insulin and/or gradually loses the capacity to produce enough insulin in the pancreas. This is often thought of as ‘lifestyle related’ diabetes but genetic predisposition is thought to play a huge role here also.