(Vatican Radio) On Thursday 7th April for World Health Day, the World Health Organisation has called for action against diabetes which has seen the number of adults suffering with the disease nearly quadruple to 422 million since 1980.
The charity, HelpAge International, is encouraging older campaigners in more than 50 countries to call for earlier diagnosis and treatment of diabetes through screening, testing, treatment and education.
Vatican Radio’s Georgia Gogarty spoke to the charity’s Health and Care Policy Advisor, Rachel Albone, who highlights the risks of diabetes within aging communities.
Listen to the full interview:
Current Challenges: Lack of Data
Albone notes that many surveys exclude data regarding the number of diabetics in aging communities, making them ‘invisible’. Many studies into diabetes do not disaggregate by age, or even go as far as to not assess those over the age of 64.
Preventing and Managing Diabetes
One of the key issues facing these communities is that many do not realise that they are living with the condition due to a lack of awareness. HelpAge International, whose main focus is overcoming the neglect of the elderly in our society, wants to aid those with the disease through the implementation of certain initiatives such as support groups and training health care workers in screening for diabetes.
When it comes to managing diabetes Rachel Albone emphasises the importance of healthy diets and routine physical exercise.
Inclusion of the Elderly
Pope Francis has often spoken about the importance of caring for the elderly in our society, something that Rachel Albone says is ‘hugely positive’ as it ‘builds the conversation’ around the issue.