The 14th of November marks the World Diabetes Day (WDD) each year aiming to spread awareness of the importance of ongoing education for all individuals concerned. Led by the International Diabetes Federation (IDF), each World Diabetes Day focuses on a theme related to the disease; the theme for World Diabetes Day 2018 and 2019 is “The Family and Diabetes”. According to the Federation, a two-year timeframe has been chosen to best align the World Diabetes Day campaign to the current IDF strategic plan and facilitate planning, development, promotion and participation.

Diabetes explained

Although diabetes is described as a chronic, progressive disease, people with diabetes can live long, healthy lives with good management of blood glucose (glycaemia) and of risk factors for complications such as high blood pressure and high cholesterol. There are two types of diabetes:

  • Type-2 diabetes is largely preventable and treatable non-communicable disease that is rapidly increasing in numbers worldwide.
  • Type 1 diabetes is not preventable but can be managed with insulin injections.

How to manage diabetes onboard

Diabetes can be managed onboard by maintaining a healthy diet, regular physical activity and the correct use of medication as prescribed by a health provider. People with diabetes require access to regular and organized healthcare delivered by a team of skilled providers when in shore leave.

  • People with type 1 diabetes require daily insulin treatment, regular blood glucose monitoring and a healthy diet and lifestyle to manage their condition effectively to delay or avoid many of the complications associated with diabetes.
  • People with type 2 diabetes should also focus on a healthy diet, increased physical activity and maintaining a healthy body weight. Oral medication and insulin are also frequently prescribed to help control blood glucose levels.

But, what healthy diet means for people with diabetes?

  • reducing the number of calories when being overweight
  • replacing saturated fats with unsaturated fats
  • eating dietary fibre
  • avoiding smoking
  • avoiding alcohol
  • avoiding sugar

Both short-acting and long-acting insulins should be available onboard as in many countries, especially in some of the poorest ones, the full provision and availability of injection and monitoring equipment is low, and the cost of blood glucose supplies often exceeds the cost of insulin.

Part of its Crew Health Pre-employment Medical Examination (PEME) programme - a loss prevention initiative which has been awarded the 2018 Initiative SAFETY4SEA Award - each November, the UK P&I Club encourages people to “turn November Blue” in acknowledgement of diabetes awareness! The aim of the PEME Programme in general is to reduce the volume, and value, of illness and repatriation claims which related to pre-existing medical conditions.

cyber security in shipping industryDid you know?

  • Up to 80% of type 2 diabetes is preventable by adopting a healthier lifestyle
  • 1 in 2 people with diabetes remain undiagnosed
  • #WDD2018 has already been created on Twitter for those who want to share their messages on improving #diabetes care