Opinion: North West Health supports local women with diabetes

International Diabetes Day is November 14.

International Diabetes Day is November 14.

As 2017 comes to a close there is one significant event that rolls around each year- International Diabetes Day, on November 14.

This year’s theme is “women and diabetes” which has been developed to highlight the importance of affordable and necessary access for all women at risk of or living with diabetes to the vital diabetes medicines, technologies, information, and self-management education they require.

In the North West, supporting women living with diabetes and those who develop Gestational Diabetes is a key aspect of our diabetes educators and the entire North West Hospital and Health Service.

Diabetes is a disease that affects over 199 million women worldwide, and this total is projected to increase to 313 million by 2040.

Diabetes is a disease caused by high levels of blood sugar (glucose) in your body, which can happen when your body does not make insulin or does not use insulin correctly. Insulin is a hormone that helps glucose get into your body’s cells for energy. If your body does not make enough insulin, or your body does not use the insulin correctly, the glucose stays and builds up in your blood and this leads to diabetes.

Diabetes affects both men and women almost equally, but in different ways.

•Two out of every five women with diabetes are of reproductive age, accounting for over 60 million women worldwide.

•Diabetes is the ninth leading cause of death in women globally, causing 2.1 million deaths per year.

•Women with type 2 diabetes are almost 10 times more likely to have coronary heart disease than women without the condition.

•Women with type 1 diabetes have an increased risk of early miscarriage or having a baby with malformations.

•1 in 7 births is affected by gestational diabetes.

• Half of women with a history of Gestational Diabetes Mellitus (develops during pregnancy) develop type 2 diabetes within five to 10 years after delivery.

If you are a woman with diabetes, or know someone who is, we encourage you to start a conversation with your healthcare providers and community members about what this means to you and how you can be supported. If you would like an appointment with the Mount Isa Diabetes service please request a referral from your local Doctor.

By Jenny Elson, Clinical Nurse Diabetes, Chronic Disease Team, North West Hospital and Health Service