World Diabetes Awareness Day was recognized yesterday with health and wellness fairs, during which visitors received blood sugar and blood pressure checks.
At the Queen Elizabeth hospital, Annette Clarke, second vice-president of the Diabetes Association of Barbados, said the association was making available the Barbados Diabetes Guide as well as trying to promote membership, recruit volunteers and sell diabetes care items.
Kenneth Connell, a lecturer in clinical pharmacology at the University of the West Indies, spoke about the need to monitor blood pressure and blood sugar on a continual basis.
He noted the emphasis was on diabetes, but added that it was common knowledge that one of the major predictors of stroke and heart attack was blood pressure control and diabetes.
Connell encouraged patrons to purchase monitoring devices to check themselves at home and keep a diary showing their blood pressure measurements over time.
“That way the doctor can make changes based on the diary and not the office reading,”?he said. “It is important because of the phenomenon of ‘white coat hypertension’ where the pressure is higher because of the fact that you are in a doctor’s office,” he said.
At the Edgar Cochrane Polyclinic in Wildey, staff nurse Sharine Shearer-Blackman said the public and patients visiting the clinic were exposed to a variety of products specially made for diabetics, including BICO’s Diabetic Delight ice cream, Purity’s healthy choice breads and Glucerna drinks.
Local fruit and vegetables were also on display and patrons were shown how to prepare them.
Nutritionists from the National Nutrition Centre were also on hand to give dietary advice.
At the Samuel Jackman Prescod Polytechnic, the Diabetes Association of Barbados also conducted health checks and took the opportunity to spread the HIV message.
Maxine Thomas, of the polytechnic’s human ecology department, said that the HIV/AIDS Commission, recognizing the challenges of some students to fund health checks, sponsored the event.
Students and staff benefited from condom distribution, HIV testing, cholesterol checks, blood sugar and blood pressure checks, breast screening and prostate specific antigen testing. (LK)