BASSETERRE, St. Kitts - AS the Federation joins the rest of the world to recognize November 14th as World Diabetes Day, concerns are being raised over the level of diabetes cases popping up across the Federation.
On the previous day, the St. Kitts Diabetes Association kick started a week of activities to raise awareness about the ailment in the Federation, as Public Relations Officer Dr. Reginald O’Loughlin revealed that there are approximately 3,000 cases on the island of St. Kitts alone.
That is an alarming figure as the Federation is known to have the prevalence of Non-Communicable Diseases (NCDs) leading the causes of death.
Dr. O'Loughlin told the congregation at a church service on Sunday (NOV. 13) that of the 3,000 figure, 250 are being treated at the Joseph N France General Hospital for Kidney Disease.
“If you look at our amputation rate, annually we are looking at 20-25 persons unfortunately having to undergo that particular type of surgical procedure,” the medical practitioner disclosed.
According to the American Center for Disease Control (CDC), “Diabetes is a chronic health condition that affects how your body turns food into energy. Your body breaks down most of the food you eat into sugar (glucose) and releases it into your bloodstream. When your blood sugar goes up, it signals your pancreas to release insulin. Insulin acts like a key to let the blood sugar into your body’s cells for use as energy. With diabetes, your body doesn’t make enough insulin or can’t use it as well as it should.”
Speaking to the issue of dialysis, Dr. O’Loughlin noted that there are 33 persons being treated to have their system cleaned because of kidney failure.
According to the medical practitioner, a “vast majority of those are persons living with diabetes”.
This year’s observance is being done under the theme ”Access to diabetes education”, where the International Diabetes Federation is calling on policymakers to priorities access to diabetes education easier.
The World Health Organization (WHO) reminded that the World Diabetes Day “provides an opportunity to raise awareness of diabetes as a global public health issue and what needs to be done, collectively and individually, for better prevention, diagnosis and management of the condition”.
“The St. Kitts Diabetes Association has been in existence for over 30 years, and it has stepped up its game in the last seven years by doing two main things: (1). Education, that is to say reminding people about diabetes…The second thing that is done is screening activities. That is to say carrying out testing activities in various areas - in schools and in the workplace,” explained Dr. O’Loughlin.
The reasoning behind the screening, he disclosed, is to gain early detection to prevent the progression of some of the well-known complications.
According to Dr. O’Loughlin, the World Atlas for 2021 indicated that there are more than 537 million people living with the ailment across the globe, representing just about 10 percent of the world’s population.
The Pan American Health Organization (PAHO), in its message on the ailment, painted a startling picture, noting that the number of people in the Americas with diabetes has tripled over the last decade, and the number is expected to further increase by 2040, which is due to the fact that a number of people are unaware of their diagnosis.
World Diabetes Day is recognized by more than 214 Diabetes Associations across the world in 190 countries.