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Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Diabetes Awareness

Contributed by Bernadette James

Almost 1,400 lives lost in 2007 – what’s killing Belizeans?

Health Minister, Pablo Marin: “…if we chose to behave differently, then we can all improve our health and quality of our lives.”

With the murder rate increasing over the past three years, Belize’s death rate has shown a simultaneous increase, reflecting lives lost through violent trauma, but what many Belizean’s don’t know is that there is a serious and silent killer in our midst - it goes by the name DIABETES. (Click here to read more

What is Diabetes
Diabetes is a disease in which our body does not properly produce or use insulin. Insulin is necessary to convert sugar, starches and other foods into the energy necessary for daily life.

When we eat, the pancreas automatically produces the right amount of insulin to move glucose from blood into our cells. In people with diabetes, however, the pancreas either produces little or no insulin, or the cells do not respond appropriately to the insulin that is produced. Glucose builds up in the blood, overflows into the urine, and passes out of the body. Thus, the body loses its main source of fuel even though the blood contains large amounts of sugar.

Type 2 Diabetes
This is the most common form of diabetes and is associated with older age, ethnicity, diet, obesity, family history of diabetes, physical inactivity and previous history of gestational diabetes. Most people diagnosis with type 2 diabetes are overweight and, unfortunately, many children and adolescents are increasingly being diagnosed as type 2 diabetics. The symptoms of type 2 diabetes develop gradually. They may include fatigue or nausea, frequent urination, unusual thirst, weight loss, blurred vision, frequent infections, and slow healing of wounds or sores. Some people never have any symptoms.
Common symptoms of diabetes include:

Excessive thirst and appetite
Increased urination (sometimes as often as every hour)
Unusual weight loss or gain
Nausea, perhaps vomiting
Blurred vision
In women, frequent vaginal infections
In men and women, yeast infections
Dry mouth
Slow-healing sores or cuts
Itching skin, especially in the groin or vaginal area

Impact of Diabetes
Diabetes is widely recognized as one of the leading causes of death and disability in the United States. Diabetes is associated with long-term complications that affect almost every part of the body. The disease often leads to blindness, heart and blood vessel disease, stroke, kidney failure, amputations, and nerve damage. Uncontrolled diabetes can complicate pregnancy, and birth defects are more common in babies born to women with diabetes.

Manage or Prevent Diabetes
If you are a diabetic, be compliant. Follow your doctor’s orders. For those who have not been diagnosed, eat in moderation, exercise, lose the weight and get tested.

Take the test to see if you are at risk. (

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