World Diabetes Day 2023:
Ensuring Access to Diabetes Care
By Sara Herbelin, MS, MCHES, CDCES, CD(DONA), LCCE
Sara Herbelin is a certified diabetes care and education specialist, Health Edco & Childbirth Graphics health educator, and a member of our Health Edco & Childbirth Graphics advisory boards.
World Diabetes Day, observed every year on November 14th, serves as a global platform to raise awareness about diabetes and its impact on individuals, families, and communities. In 2023, as we commemorate this important day, it is crucial to shed light on a pressing issue that affects millions of people worldwide: access to diabetes care. In many cases, type 2 diabetes and its complications can be delayed or prevented by adopting and maintaining healthy habits.
Approximately 1 in 10 adults worldwide has diabetes. It is estimated that about half of those with type 2 diabetes have not received a diagnosis. When not detected and treated early, diabetes can lead to serious complications. This global epidemic of diabetes presents a significant healthcare challenge, with serious implications for both individuals and society.
Access to diabetes care is essential for several reasons:
- Disease management—Effective diabetes management is critical to prevent complications such as cardiovascular disease, kidney problems, and vision impairment. Access to healthcare services, including regular check-ups, medication, and lifestyle counseling, is essential for managing diabetes effectively.
- Improved quality of life—Access to diabetes care not only helps individuals maintain better blood glucose control but also enhances their overall quality of life. Proper care empowers individuals to make informed decisions about their health and well-being.
- Cost savings—Early diagnosis and appropriate management of diabetes can lead to significant cost savings for healthcare systems by preventing expensive complications and hospitalizations.
- Reducing disparities—Ensuring access to diabetes care is crucial in reducing health disparities, as marginalized and underserved populations often face barriers to accessing healthcare services. Healthcare professionals can play a pivotal role in addressing these disparities.
Healthcare professionals, including physicians, nurses, dietitians, pharmacists, and diabetes educators, are instrumental in ensuring access to diabetes care. Here are some ways they make a difference:
- Advocate for policy changes—Healthcare professionals can advocate for policies that improve access to diabetes care, such as expanding insurance coverage for necessary medications and services.
- Cultural competence—Being culturally competent and sensitive to patients' diverse backgrounds can improve trust and communication, leading to better diabetes management.
- Patient education—Empowering patients with knowledge about diabetes, its management, and lifestyle choices is vital. Healthcare professionals should provide clear and accessible information tailored to individual needs.
- Telemedicine—Embrace telehealth to reach underserved populations, provide follow-up care, and monitor patients’ progress remotely.
- Collaborative care—Team-based care, involving various healthcare professionals, can improve patient outcomes. Collaborate with colleagues to provide holistic diabetes care.
Together, we can work towards a world where everyone, regardless of their background or circumstances, has access to the care and support they need to manage diabetes and lead healthier, happier lives.
The information contained in this newsletter is not intended to replace the advice of a healthcare professional.
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