Marketing and Communications Manager
BVI Health Services Authority
Families are being urged to play their role in diabetes prevention as the Territory observes World Diabetes Day today November 14.
Consultant Internist, Dr. Chrisel Chichester said that family members who are often the primary care givers and main support for patients living with diabetes, do not get enough credit and often times do not realise the value of their role.
Dr. Chichester said, “Diabetes is a chronic illness that requires long term care and management and though patients are afflicted with the illness, it is the relatives that bear a lot of the burden dealing with the consequences of the disease. That is why it is imperative for relatives to understand their role in the prevention and management of diabetes.”
The consultant explained that diabetes is way more prevalent in our small community than it should be and a culture shift is needed to address this health matter.
“There are certain things that we need to unlearn that we have learnt over time,” she said, adding, “We need to teach the very young about healthy dietary practices and the importance of physical activity and making healthy lifestyle choices and we need to make sure that meals provided in schools and home are appropriate.”
Dr. Chichester said the practice of seeking health care even when one feels well is also very important. She said, “Diabetes is a process that happens over a period of years. These persons are usually asymptomatic for many years. They feel well and when we feel well, we are reassured that we are okay but on a microscopic level there are a lot of changes happening.” Dr. Chichester added that by the time someone presents with symptoms of diabetes they would have likely been diabetic five to seven years prior.
Diabetes Mellitus is a chronic disease in which the body’s ability to produce or respond to the hormone insulin is impaired, resulting in abnormal metabolism of carbohydrates and elevated levels of glucose in the blood which has negative impacts on the body.
Risk factors include obesity, poor dietary choices, sedentary lifestyle, chronic alcohol use and smoking. Genetics and family history also play a small role.
To learn more about diabetes, its symptoms and what you can do to avoid getting the disease or to live a better quality of life with it, tune in to ZBVI on November 15 at 9:00 for an interview with Dr. Chichester.
World Diabetes Day is being observed under the theme, "The Family and Diabetes." The aim is to raise awareness of the impact of the disease on the individual and family and promote the role of the family in its management, prevention, care and education.
BVI Health Services Authority is committed to delivering excellent, compassionate, client centered healthcare across the Territory.