Sunday, 29 November 2009

Where in the World?

I was just taking a look at my blog statistics, in particular the current World Map that identifies where in the world the people reading it are coming from. The map changes as it only stores the last 500 visits, so I have lost some of the Brazilian visitors, and the Hawaiian, and a couple from Australia. Recently I got my first visitor from Moscow, which interested me as I studied Russian at university and have always retained an affinity for that part of the world. There are some people from India, Bangladesh, lots in the UK and Europe, and quite a few in the United States.

They find my blog in a variety of ways – google or bing searches, through links from bulletin boards or the blogrolls of other bloggers, the ‘Next Blog’ option, and recently Twitter and a few this month from NaBloPoMo. The searches are interesting. I was amused to see that one visitor found my blog when using the search request ‘how can jam kill diabetics’ (see poem ‘Diabetic Jam). I’ve had several people reading ‘The Podiatrist who Tickled my Toes’, after searching for ‘podiatry tickling’ or ‘podiatry poem’, and the more conventional ‘diabetes poetry’ and ‘funny poem about diabetes’. There are a lot of very serious poems about diabetes around, but I prefer to keep mine light as a bit of an antidote to the dread forebodings and hand-wringing the disease can engender. I’ll admit that a lot if it is of questionable quality, especially when under the pressures of NaBloPoMo (only one more day to go after today!), so I hope that you will take a little time to look back through the archives and hopefully there will be something to make you smile.

Of course, not all of the visitors have an interest in diabetes as their route here might have been entirely random, but the chances are that many of them will be touched in some way by the disease. Maybe a partner, friend or relative has been diagnosed, or there is some past family history. In 2000, the World Health Organisation (WHO) estimated 171 million worldwide with the disease, with a possible 366 million by 2030. That’s a lot of people, and it really doesn’t matter where in the world you are: Africa 7m (2000) 18m (2030), the Americas 33m (2000) rising to 66m (2030), Europe 33m (2000) 47m (2030), and so on.

This rise in prevalence will place greater and greater pressures on the health services of all countries, where such services exist. In those countries where access to essential care and medication is not freely available there will inevitably be a huge increase in suffering from diabetic complications and the prospect of premature death. I count myself extremely lucky to have been diagnosed with diabetes in a country where my medical needs are catered for without personal cost by the National Health Service. Millions of others around the world do not have money for test strips, oral medications or even insulin, and will therefore almost inevitably succumb to poor control and all the associated risks that entails. My biggest hope is that some of the research currently underway to seek a cure will bear fruit. Maybe in my lifetime people will fail to find any sites where they might learn ‘how to kill diabetics with jam’, because diabetes will only be of historical interest, I hope so!

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