Today’s guest blog is by Prof. Andrew Boulton, Past-President of the European Association for the Study of Diabetes (EASD)
2015 is an important year in the fight against diabetes. The EASD celebrates 50 years; our longest running Study Group – the European Diabetes Epidemiology Group (EDEG) also celebrates 50 years; our NEURODIAB Study Group celebrates 25 years; and our colleagues at the American Diabetes Association (ADA) are celebrating 75 years! Yet, despite the myriad of advances and the ceaseless efforts of all involved, the statistics surrounding diabetes continue to both shock and grow.
According to the recent statistics, by 2035, over half a billion people around the globe will be affected by diabetes – that’s one out of every 10 adults. Diabetes places a heavy and debilitating burden on national healthcare systems. In developing countries, where as many as 80% of people with diabetes live, those affected and their families are facing huge financial challenges to compete with the disease and its complications. I have seen how, for varying reasons, diabetes has become an issue for many policy makers and officials and rightly so. But the question remains – is enough being done?
We all know that the task is monumental. That’s why EASD continues to increase its commitment to this cause through our foundation, EFSD, fellowships, grants and research programmes, our postgraduate education courses and our annual scientific meeting.
Having witnessed firsthand the devastating effects of this disease, I see that there is a real urgency with this crisis. Diabetes is one of the leading causes of death in most developed countries and it is reaching epidemic proportions in many economically developing areas. As the figures grow, so too does the need to support patients. We also need to support those on the front-line: the researchers who are trying to find better treatments, better care, and, ultimately, a cure for what can only be described as one of the greatest threats to public health of 21st century.
Professor Boulton graduated (with honours) from the University of Newcastle-upon-Tyne Medical School and subsequently trained in Sheffield and Miami prior to accepting an appointment at the University of Manchester. He has authored more than 400 peer-reviewed manuscripts and book chapters, mainly on diabetic neuropathy and foot complications. He is Past-President of the EASD.