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Get screened for diabetes

Get screened for diabetes

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Type 2 diabetes is a silent epidemic in Barbados, and if the current trend is not reversed soon, one in every four adults could be diagnosed with diabetes by the year 2035.

This is the view of Dr Laura Lovell, expressed in an article for Better Health magazine.

“When most persons think of an epidemic they usually think of plague, a flu virus or other contagious illness. However, with the rise of obesity, especially in the western world, more non-communicable diseases such as diabetes are taking root,” she said.

Get screened for diabetes
DIAGRAM SHOWING the progression of type 2 diabetes. (GP)


Dr Lovell outlined a few sobering facts about diabetes in Barbados:

  • In 2017, there were 35 600 persons living with diabetes. That is 17.6% of our population. That is an increase from 2010 where 13.8% of the population was diagnosed.
  • The rate of major amputation in Barbados is one of the highest in the world earning us the title of “amputation capital of the world” (375 per 105 people with diabetes in 2004).
  • The factors that lead to amputation are widespread in our society:
  • Inadequate footwear and footcare
    • g. going outside barefoot, not checking feet daily, wearing thong sandals or poorly fitting shoes
  • Poor sensation in the feet (neuropathy)
    • Unable to detect injury to the foot early
  • Poor circulation in the feet (peripheral artery disease)

“These facts are chilling to say the least, but there is something that can be done to change this trend. Get appropriate footwear. Always wear suitable footwear. Consult your doctor or podiatrist for further assistance with this. Shoes should never be too tight with imprints of toes visible. This causes rubbing which can lead to blisters and eventually ulcers. Never go outside barefoot! Not even for a minute,” Dr Lovell advised.

She also urged people to get screened to prevent the development of the disease or to catch it early.

“If you do not have diabetes, you still may be at risk if you’re over 40, overweight, or have a family member with diabetes, hypertension, or high cholesterol. Even if you don’t have symptoms make it a part of your annual physical to get checked for diabetes. If you do have diabetes, your Hba1c (average three-month blood glucose) should be less than 7% for you to have reduced risk of complications,” the doctor stated, adding people need to take control of their diabetes and avoid becoming another statistic.

This article is brought to you by Better Health Magazine.

Get screened for diabetes