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One In Seven Suffering From Diabetes In The Bahamas

HEALTH Minister Dr Duane Sands. Photo: Shawn Hanna/Tribune staff

HEALTH Minister Dr Duane Sands. Photo: Shawn Hanna/Tribune staff

By Leandra Rolle

lrolle@tribunemedia.net

WITH one in seven of the population suffering from diabetes, Health Minister Dr Duane Sands is urging Bahamians to make more healthy lifestyle choices to prevent getting the disease.

Speaking at the Bahamas Podiatric Medical Association Conference on Friday, Dr Sands noted that diabetes, which is now the fifth leading cause of death in the country, has become more prevalent in the Bahamas.

“The prevalence of diabetes in 2005 was 6.7 percent. It has now reached 13.9 per cent and if we include pre-diabetics, we have a staggering prevalence of almost 19%. Our death rate from diabetes stands at 37.9 deaths per 100,000 people,” he said.

“A well-known fact is that many persons with diabetes suffer from foot and ankle ailment and complications. Around the world, approximately a million people with diabetes will lose a part of their lower limb.….”

It is for this reason, Dr Sands said, why prevention of foot ulcers is an important priority for podiatric medicine and the diabetic patient in general.

“Eight-five per cent, give or take, of amputations are preceded by an ulcer, and therefore, can be prevented. With these startling statistics in mind, it demonstrates that a multi-disciplinary team approach for the treatment of diabetics and diabetic foot problems is required.”

He continued: “Podiatry services were reinstated in the public sector about one year ago and since that time, approximately 700 patients were treated. They were aged between three months and 98 years.”

Sixty percent were treated for a diabetic foot. There were 161 minor surgical cases.

However, as noted by Dr Sands, there is still a major shortage of podiatrists in the country. He added that this shortage presented a challenge to the healthcare system in the country.

“Currently, there are four podiatrists serving the entire country and that’s shared between the public and private sector. You could imagine how difficult and stressful it was for these professionals in the aftermath of Hurricane Dorian to see the many persons with limb infections or injuries,” he said.

In his address, Dr Sands also announced that the country has recently completed its most comprehensive public health survey, entitled Steps 2019.

“The Bahamas is now one of the few countries in the world that now have that type of longitude in data. What we found is that as a country, we really have to do better…. 60 percent of Bahamians add two or more spoonfuls of sugar to their tea or coffee,” he continued.

“32 percent of us eat sweets three or more times per week. Less than 50 percent of us drink the daily recommended amount of water… 71.6 percent of us are overweight and the majority of the overweight persons – that’s 43.7 percent of us – are obese.”

According to Dr Sands, these “hard to break” habits have led to a two percent increase in diabetes in the country.

For this reason, he urged Bahamians to act more responsibly and to develop lifestyle changes to protect themselves and their loved ones from getting diabetes.

“We (at the Ministry of Health) are indeed devoted to improving and advancing the health and well-being of all persons in The Bahamas and to ensuring the highest quality of services for all citizens,” he said.

“(But) we have to make better choices in what we eat and how we eat, what we drink and how we drink it. And we do have to make dedicated time to exercise. We must also teach our children to eat and drink healthy.”

Comments

concerned799 2 years, 6 months ago

Sure seems a sugar tax would be a good idea non?

A fast food tax is probably another great idea.

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TheMadHatter 2 years, 6 months ago

“We (at the Ministry of Health) are indeed devoted to improving and advancing the health and well-being of all persons in The Bahamas and to ensuring the highest quality of services for all citizens,” he said.

Absolutely, and I'm sure under Dr. Sands' watch the prevalence of diabetes will be seen to decrease during his tenure. We have brighter and healthier days ahead.

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ohdrap4 2 years, 6 months ago

Will you pass the Grey Poupon?

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Well_mudda_take_sic 2 years, 6 months ago

Fast food is killing most Bahamians. A wise word to those who want/need to avoid serious health issues: Never or very seldom eat at KFC, Wendy's, McDonald's, Burger King, Marco's, Dominos, Bamboo Shack/Grill, Dunkin' Donuts, Sbarro's, Checkers, etc., etc., etc.

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