Let’s beat di­a­betes with health­ier lifestyle choices

Jamaica Gleaner - - DIABETES WEEK FEATURE -

THE WORLD Health Or­ga­ni­za­tion states that the num­ber of peo­ple with di­a­betes, a non-com­mu­ni­ca­ble dis­ease, has risen from 108 mil­lion in 1980 to 422 mil­lion in 2014. In 2012, an es­ti­mated 1.5 mil­lion deaths were di­rectly caused by di­a­betes and an­other 2.2 mil­lion deaths were at­trib­ut­able to high blood glu­cose. Over 200,000 Ja­maicans aged 18 years and older are liv­ing with di­a­betes. In 2014, over 2,000 Ja­maicans over five years old died from di­a­betes mel­li­tus, and it was the sec­ond lead­ing cause of death for women and the third lead­ing cause of death for men in this age group.

Di­a­betes and its com­pli­ca­tions con­tinue to af­fect so many and is a bur­den on fam­i­lies and health­care de­liv­ery. Ac­cord­ing to a Har­vard 2016 study, the economic bur­den of di­a­betes

in Ja­maica is US$2.34 bil­lion. Di­a­betes can lead to com­pli­ca­tions in many parts of the body, such as stroke, blind­ness, heart at­tack, kid­ney fail­ure, and am­pu­ta­tion. This year’s theme ‘Eye’ on Di­a­betes’ is a timely one that fo­cuses on pro­mot­ing the im­por­tance of screen­ing to en­sure early di­ag­no­sis of Type 2 di­a­betes and treat­ment to re­duce the risk of se­ri­ous com­pli­ca­tions.

It is es­ti­mated that over 20,000 per­sons, 20 years and older, with di­a­betes in Ja­maica will have some form of di­a­betic retinopa­thy, a com­pli­ca­tion of di­a­betes that can lead to vi­sion im­pair­ment and blind­ness. It is there­fore im­por­tant that all doc­tors en­sure their clients with di­a­betes are screened for di­a­betes com­pli­ca­tions. Ev­ery per­son liv­ing with di­a­betes should also make rou­tine vis­its to their doc­tor.

High lev­els of obe­sity are as­so­ci­ated with high lev­els of di­a­betes. Ja­maicans are twice more likely to de­velop di­a­betes if they are over­weight or obese. Di­a­betes is pre­ventable and as such I

am en­cour­ag­ing ev­ery­one to make some lifestyle changes to re­duce the risk of de­vel­op­ing di­a­betes. Some of these lifestyle changes in­clude eat­ing a healthy diet; be­ing phys­i­cally ac­tive; avoid­ing ex­ces­sive weight gain; get­ting reg­u­lar check-ups and know­ing your di­a­betes sta­tus; fol­low­ing med­i­cal and ad­vice and keep­ing your ap­point­ments. If you al­ready have di­a­betes, you must man­age the dis­ease by fol­low­ing the treat­ment plan given by your doc­tor as well as get­ting screened for com­pli­ca­tions. We can beat di­a­betes with health­ier lifestyle choices. Let’s beat di­a­betes. DR CHRISTO­PHER TUFTON Min­is­ter of Health

Tufton

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