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‘We Tend To Live To Eat’ – Concern Over Saint Lucia’s High Diabetes Prevalence

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The Saint Lucia Diabetes and Hypertension Association (SLDHA) is concerned about the high number of individuals in Saint Lucia living with diabetes.

Association President Dr. Kedhma Dorh referred to a 2014-2015 World Health Organization (WHO) report on Saint Lucia, showing the country had a little over fourteen percent diabetes prevalence.

“We are looking at a really high number – fourteen or a little over fourteen out of every hundred persons in Saint Lucia is living with diabetes,” the Association President noted.

Dorh said the number was significant enough to take seriously.

Saint Lucia is observing November as Diabetes Awareness Month.

The SLDHA intends to help people understand, manage, and possibly eradicate the disease through various activities, including a November 30 health fair at Constitution Park in Castries.

The Association also plans to tackle misconceptions regarding diet.

Dorh observed that people who do not sweeten their beverages and avoid sugar wonder why they develop diabetes or have high blood sugar levels.

“When we mention sugar, we are referring to starch or carbohydrates. There are various forms of carbohydrates,” the SLDHA President explained.

In addition, he acknowledged people noting that diabetes was not as prevalent in the days of their parents or grandparents, yet those individuals ate what they wanted.

Dorh said that might be true to an extent, but there is no supportive data.

Nevertheless, he stated that the lifestyle has changed with technology contributing to a less active lifestyle.

“We tend to live to eat and not eat to live. Food is meant to give us nutrients, to give us energy, to give us what we need to survive,” Dorh stated.

He said the SLDHA wants to educate people on the right way to eat, especially regarding portion sizes and consumption frequency.

Dorh asserted that there is no food an individual living with or trying to prevent diabetes cannot eat.

But  he revealed that the portion sizes and frequency were the important factors.

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10 COMMENTS

  1. Our doctors must take a fair share of the responsibility for this high level of diabetes. Our doctors are too quick to prescribe medication for every simple case that come before them. Now, it has concluded, that medication does not cure diabetes. In fact all the medication does, is affect other internal organs like your kidneys, lungs, pancreas and heart. St. Lucian doctors now nothing else than to prescribe medication. Their first course of action is always medication.
    I visited my doctor for a routine check up a few months ago. She sent me for a barrage of test. Soon after, she called to inform me that every thing was good, except my cholesterol that was a little borderline. Despite being borderline, she still gave me a prescription to purchase medication for the borderline condition. Luckily for me, the pharmacists guided me to note purchase that medication since it was my first visit for that medication. She informed me that it would be difficult getting off it, once I began to take it. The pharmacist instead recommended egg plant water as my first option coupled with increased exercise. I did as the pharmacist had suggested. About 3 months later, I had reason to visit my doctor. She again sent me for a couple test which included the cholesterol. And this time, after she received the results, she asked me to stop taking the cholesterol medication because my borderline condition had improved significantly. A medication that I had already stopped taking several months ago.

  2. This article has come at a very good time since World Diabetes Day is November 14. Obviously Diabetes is a major problem so we need to help adults manage their Diabetes to reduce the severity of complications, for example, amputations. In addition we need to somehow get adults to check their blood sugar levels at least twice each year.
    In terms of younger people, we need to reach them through the school system, the faith-based groups, and the sports clubs in order to educate them about basic nutrition, and the importance of consuming whole grains, fruits and vegetables, legumes, and nuts and seeds.
    They need to be taught about what constitutes a healthy breakfast and a balanced lunch.
    Our young people need to be taught about the dangers of deep-fried foods, processed meat, and sugary drinks.
    Another approach is to train young people at secondary school and tertiary level institutions to function as Youth Health Advocates.
    One more thing, individual faith-based groups should arrange for medical doctors and Dietitians to conduct interactive sessions during Diabetes Awareness Month

  3. Good to see some action being taken to education Lucians. It’s a great start. However, the above refers to type 2. There are 2 types of diabetes.
    Type 1….is a lifelong condition. It’s an autoimmune disease. The pancreas is affected as it does not make insulin. The body’s immune system attacks and destroys the cells that produce insulin.
    Type 2… the pancreas makes less insulin and so the body becomes resistant to insulin.
    It’s complex and hence important to be able to know and identify which type a person has by seeking medical advice from a fully trained diabetic nurse or doctor, knowledge is key.
    Before getting a type 2 diabetes diagnosis, changes in the body begin years before a diagnosis. Diabetes happens in 4 stages…insulin resistance, pre-diabetes, type 2 diabetes, type 2 with vascular complications. You don’t just wake up and get diabetes, it slowly over years creeps up on you. So it’s very important to know your blood sugar levels, check your cholesterol levels, blood pressure levels and most of all know your HbA1c levels….it’s the king of Kings. Ask your nurse or doctor what the normal range should be. LUCIANS…Know your numbers. Have annual checks to keep diabetes at bay.
    Not only overweight people get type 2 diabetes, slim people can get it too. Don’t be fooled into believing only overweight people get diabetes. It an affect all shape and size, young and old. It also affects some pregnant women known as Gestation diabetes, a condition where their blood sugar levels become high during pregnancy.
    If you are at risk of getting diabetes or are pre-diabetes, it can be put into remission by making lifestyle improvements or changes, which will help reduce blood sugar levels back to the normal range. So again….Lucians know your numbers. Know the signs if you are at risk…very thirsty, urinating more often than usual especially at night, feeling tired all the time, family history of diabetes, blurred vision, slow to heal cuts, unexpected weight loss. Of course if you drink lots of water you will urinate more, but the diabetes change you will know it or sense the changes. Know your body.
    So what can you do starting today.
    Eat less processed foods, fries, bacon, sausages, eat less white rice, pasta, sweetened breakfast cereals, packaged snacks, processed baked goods like cakes, biscuits. Just eat less of these foods, do not eat them every day. Cut your portion size of ground provisions. Cut down on carby foods, eat less, small plate of food. Caribbean Ground provisions are our lifeline, its full of (carbs) carbohydrates but higher in fiber. It contains essential nutrients that may help lower blood sugar and cholesterol levels. Eaten in moderation, of course. Instead of a massive plate of it, eat less not a huge plate. Consult with your nurse, dietician or doctor on how much you should be eating to ensure you are getting a balanced and healthy diet. Ground provisions are a good choice for diabetics, it’s all root vegetables. Better to have root vegetables in moderation than processed packaged
    ready make foods. These foods are addictive and mostly poor nutritional values. Your body will just crave it more. Have the fruits and vegetables given to us by mother nature. Eat sweet snacks in moderation or have non. It’s OK to have a treat. Just limit how often you have it. And cut out all those sweet juicy, Icy, full of sugar. It does nothing for you except makes you crave more, makes you tired and bad mood swings. Addicted to process foods.
    Make the changes today and go for a walk, set up group walks, safer in numbers and motivate each other to come along. Share ideas of new recipes, communication is key.
    There is hope by making changes now, especially if you have young children. Limit the sweet drinks and sweet treats, your body will thank you for it.
    eat well to live well.

  4. I supported the headline but it should have add…”‘We Tend To Live To Eat’ – Mind
    Other People Business.. The Concern of Saint Lucia’s High Diabetes Prevalence

  5. I AGREE WITH THAT STATEMENT, “WE TEND TO LIVE TO EAT” I THINK YOU SHOULD REPHRASE THAT BECAUSE YOU ARE LIVING TO EAT. KFC ANYONE.

  6. Shock Horror… bravo. Very informative piece of writing everyone should read.👋🏽👋🏽👋🏽

  7. I agree with the survey , and how do we solve the solvable disease? A proper diet and nutrition and avoid the death sentence..
    Most people in St Lucia can’t afford to live a healthy lifestyle because of the shortage of disposable income,due to the slave wages system, our current wage system must be revised and, intact a fair living wage system of $10+ per hour based on hours worked to everyone..

  8. We need less talk and more action in St Lucía and the rest of the Caribbean.
    Less talk and more policies. More policies would result in less people coming down with diabetes.
    Policies like – octagonal front of package warning labels, restricting the marketing of unhealthy foods to children, measures to strengthen consumer protection, school nutrition policies, national dietary guidelines, regulating fast food chains, taxes on some unhealthy foods, measures to make healthy foods more affordable.

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