Diabetes

Maybe it’s just me, but diabetes seems to be a hot issue recently. In my ignorance, I didn’t realise it was so widespread and so important. A recent podcast on the IT Conversations site with Larry Ellingson (former chair of the American Diabetes Association) discussed the disease in detail, and there was a single fact mentioned that took me by surprise: 300 million in the world (4%) have diabetes. However, the prevalence of diabetes in the Western world is considerably greater, primarily because of poor diet and exercise, which exacerbates Type II diabetes. (Type I: not enough insulin produced by the body, Type II: insulin that’s produced is resisted by the pancreas). In the US, 95% of people with diabetes are overweight. If you don’t know someone with diabetes, you are probably in the minority.

I didn’t fully appreciate it when I visited there a few months ago, but Copenhagen is a major centre for the study and treatment of Diabetes. Novo Nordisk, headquartered there (as evidenced by the posters advertising them in Copenhagen Kastrup airport), has diabetes study as its main business. A friend of mine in the business recently attended a conference there on diabetes attended by thousands.

I think I’ve learnt another good reason to try harder at slimming down my waistline by a few inches. But it’s clear that the world is facing a huge challenge in tackling this disease.