Hosts of activities to profile World Health Day 2016 – Diabetes: Beat It!

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GREAT BAY, Sint Maarten (DCOMM) – Collective Prevention Services (CPS), a department of the Ministry of Public Health, Social Development and Labour, in connection with World Health Day (WHD) 2016 which is to be commemorated onApril 7, has planned a number of activities in conjunction with stakeholders to profile WHD which focusses on Diabetes: Beat It!

Stakeholder, the Diabetes Foundation of St. Maarten (DFS), has circulated diabetes related information throughout the community especially giving tips to prevent or care for a Diabetic Foot.

The Bank of Nova Scotia will be highlighting Diabetes by decorating its offices in blue and white, and flyers containing information about diabetes will also be available.

The Minister of Public Health Emil Lee will also be issuing a statement to the community on this international day of observation, World Health Day.

The DFS in collaboration with a Dietician will be hosting a cooking demonstration on Saturday, April 9th at Le Grand Marche on the Bush Road.  There will be breakfast from 10am to 11am and lunch from 11am to 12pm.  Individuals will also have the opportunity to test their glucose and blood pressure.

The local slogan to profile this very important health issue is “Be Aware, get Diabetes Care.”

Diabetes is a largely preventable and treatable disease that is rapidly increasing globally. It is a chronic disease, that occurs either when the pancreas does not produce enough insulin or when the body cannot effectively use the insulin it produces.

There are three types of diabetes: type 1 diabetes which is the most frequent among children and adolescents; type 2 diabetes which is the most frequent among adults and it is linked to obesity or overweight, lack of physical activity and poor nutrition; and gestational diabetes which is a complication of pregnancy.

Diabetes is a disease that has a huge economic impact on individuals, families and governments, according to the World Health Organization (WHO).  It is estimated that health expenses caused by diabetes in the Americas amounted to approximately US$383 billion in 2014 and that number will increase to US$486 billion in 2040.

It is estimated that 62 million people were living with diabetes in the Americas in 2014, which represented one in every 12 people in the Americas.  Type 2 diabetes represents about 90-95 percent of cases.

The estimated number of deaths related to diabetes is 571,562, and the number of children with Type 1 diabetes is 152,400.

Statistics from the Census 2011 of the Department of Statistics show that Diabetes is the second most prevalent disease for residents of Sint Maarten. The age group hardest hit is generally the population in the age bracket of 50-54 year olds.

Type 2 diabetes is preventable and can be avoided by decreasing major risk factors such as overweight and obesity, which contributes to 44 per cent of cases while lack of physical inactivity is 27 per cent.

There are other risk factors such as smoking, alcohol abuse, family history and unknown factors, which is 33 per cent.

For people who already have diabetes, it is important to maintain an appropriate blood glucose level in order to prevent or delay diabetes chronic complications, such as blindness, neuropathy, kidney disease or peripheral vascular insufficiency which are problems in the blood vessels that may lead to limb amputations, among others.