JIS News

As part of its self management thrust which includes medical management, stress management and behaviour change, the Ministry of Health is reminding diabetics to take their medication on time over the festive season and likewise indulge with caution.
Speaking yesterday (December 15) at the 3rd Learning Session for the Jamaica Diabetes Care Project, Medical Officer of Health for Manchester Dr. Beverley Wright, said taking control of one’s health is particularly critical at Christmas due to the highly festive nature of the season.
She said diabetics in particular “are very vulnerable because of the nature of the disease and the wealth of food, drinks and pastry that is customary at Christmas”.
Dr. Wright said persons with the condition must indulge moderately this holiday in order to prevent an increase in their blood sugar level which could lead to complications such as coma in the short term and stroke and/or heart disease in in the long term. She said checking the blood sugar level throughout the day allows patients to better monitor their intake. Diabetics may access their blood testing supplies free of cost through the National Health Fund (NHF).
“Moderation is extremely critical over this festive period because it is difficult not to indulge. Some persons when tempted by the sumptuous feast cannot resist or are afraid to say no for fear of offending their family or friends,” Dr. Wright said.
She said it is important for diabetics to share their status with family and friends who can provide the support needed to stick to their diet and take prescribed medication on time.
Continuing Dr. Wright said “If you must have cake, take a small piece. If you are going out to dinner in the afternoon cut back on the calories you consume before then. In meal preparation use healthier alternatives for example ‘lite’ salad dressing and sugar substitutes as needed.”
Dr. Wright said diabetics should visit their health care provider early for a pre-Christmas check-up and to stock up on their medications.
However, “patients without a doctor’s prescription can get a week’s supply of medicine providing they take the most recent ‘medicine container’ to their pharmacist.”
With nutritional and endocrine disorders related to diabetes now the third leading cause of death in Jamaica, increasing attention is being paid to this largely preventable disease. The Diabetes Care Project is a PAHO sponsored regional initiative aimed at addressing this concern. Jamaica’s Third Learning Session under the Project happens at the Sunset Beach Hotel and Spa in St. James December 15-16, 2009.

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