Today marks the birthday of Frederick G. Banting – the Canadian scientists thanks to whom many people with diabetes got a chance to lead a normal life. In 1922 Frederick Banting played the key part in isolating insulin and discovering its qualities in relation to diabetes. Insulin appeared on the market by the end of 1922 and in 1923 Eli Lilly & Co began its large-scale manufacturing. Insulin saved millions of lives of people with diabetes since then.
In 2007 Frederick Banting’s birthday, November 14 has become the World Diabetes Day. The theme for 2021-2023 World Diabetes Day is access to diabetes care. 100 years since its discovery, insulin still remains beyond the reach of many who need it. World Diabetes Day is also intended to raise awareness not only about the number of people with diabetes, but also about its timely diagnostics, treatment, and prevention.
These simple (or not so simple) measures may help avoid Type 2 diabetes or, at least, delay its appearance:
- Lack of excessive weight.
- Sufficient physical activity.
- Healthy diet with no more than moderate use of sugars and saturated fats.
- No smoking or excessive drinking.
- A complete physical no less than once a year.
Keep an eye on the following early signs of diabetes:
- Constant and strong thirst and hunger.
- Unusual weight loss.
- Frequent urination, often at night.
- Wounds and sores heal slower than normal.
- Blurry vision.
- Numb or tingling hands and feet.
- More infections than usual.
Remember that early diagnostics and treatment of diabetes are the key to your health and wellbeing!
My name is Nick Rubtsov, I am the founder and CEO of Diahero Foundation. My mother has diabetes. Her parents, brother, and sister died from diabetes or diabetes-related diseases. My brother refuses to measure his blood glucose because he’s afraid he might have to start following a very strict regimen related to diabetes, and he doesn’t want that kind of life. He’s probably wrong about it, but he has the right to be wrong. I don’t have diabetes myself – I stay in good shape, I exercise, I watch my diet. I might still get it later on, given my family history.
My mother is very organized. She keeps track of her diet, watches her blood glucose, and makes sure she always has something to eat in case her blood glucose suddenly drops. She still misses some of these drops every now and then. She’s outlived her siblings who weren’t as organized. My brother is quite the opposite (as was my uncle): he doesn’t want to keep track of all this and let it run his life.
My family history, as well as that of many, many people shows that properly managing diabetes is often the difference between life and premature death. It is also a huge quality of life issue. I founded Diahero Foundation in the belief that properly managing diabetes doesn’t have to be onerous, that it doesn’t have to run one’s life, that both highly organized and disorganized people deserve to live longer, and that making it easier to properly manage diabetes would not only save lives, but also make those lives worth living. We can’t cure diabetes yet, but we can prevent it from affecting one’s daily life… too much. The goal of Diahero Foundation (and my own) is to make managing diabetes as seamless as possible and to get more people to properly manage diabetes as the result.
The other issue with properly managing diabetes is cost. Some or all of the needed tools can be covered by health insurance, if one has it, and if it’s good enough. If one doesn’t have insurance – the costs can be staggering. It is more so for poor people, be it in the US or elsewhere in the world. And the cost of managing diabetes drives up the cost of health insurance for people with diabetes.
In order to address these issues, Diahero Foundation’s strategy is as follows:
- inform as many people as possible about the proper ways of managing diabetes. It’s downright scary how many people don’t know how to handle the common problems that occur with diabetes and how to avoid those situations to begin with. And the cost of not doing it might be one’s life.
- help develop better and cheaper tools for managing diabetes, including (but not limited to) insulin pumps and consumables for them and diabetes management apps. The existing ones have a lot of room for improvement, not to mention their price.
- provide diabetes supplies to those who cannot afford them wherever it is needed in the world. Which is one of the reasons I want cheaper diabetes management tools: the funding is always limited, and this way our money can do more good. Not to mention that people who can’t afford such tools with the current prices would be able to buy them, thus reducing the need for our help.
I will expand on these in future posts.