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Diabetes, The Plague of Our Bahama Islands Part IIBack to Articles

Ruth was a typical Bahamian. At age 40 she was a little overweight and held a good job as a secretary. She was married with three
children who seemed to demand every bit of the little time she had left at the end of the day. According to Ruth there was absolutely
no time for exercise. Eating a balanced meal was a luxury; she was always eating on the run. Trouble began for Ruth the day she started experiencing tingling or numbness in her hands and feet, blurry vision and worse of all she couldn’t understand why she was always thirsty and had to continuously use the bathroom. Something was desperately wrong. She had to see a doctor. The doctor diagnosed her case as type II Non-insulin Dependant Diabetes Mellitus.

Ruth’s story is not unique. The fact is that many Bahamians only find out that they have diabetes after they start experiencing some of the complications of diabetes like our friend Ruth. Diabetes has risen to epidemic proportions worldwide. It is estimated that over 135 million people worldwide have diabetes. According to the 1989 National Health and Nutrition Survey, 11 percent of our Bahamian population has diabetes and it is estimated that only 50 percent of all persons with diabetes are aware that they have the disease.

Type II diabetes is seen in about 90% of persons diagnosed with diabetes. It is also called adult onset diabetes mellitus because it usually shows up in individuals over 40 years of age. However, many Bahamians are experiencing onset before age 40. Type II diabetes can go unsuspected for a long time. Many people when diagnosed have had diabetes for several years and did not know it. Type II diabetes in most cases can be managed through diet and exercise alone. The American Diabetic Association since 1984 has recommended diet and exercise as the primary interventions for the control and management of type II diabetes.

Long term complications of diabetes are retinopathy (disease of the eye), neuropathy (disease of the nerve) and nephropathy (disease of the kidney). The unmanaged diabetic has an increased risk of heart disease. Many diabetics suffer with poor eyesight and cataracts. Many, due to poor circulation and nerve problems, suffer with slow healing wounds and amputations, while others suffer kidney malfunction and have to go through the regimen of renal dialyses. The good news is that, You Can Control Diabetes Before it Controls You! When diabetes is properly managed, you can enjoy life with none of the complications of the disease. It’s all in your hands!

If your blood sugar is out of control, you need help! The proper diet coupled with moderate exercise will do wonders in helping you
manage this debilitating and deadly disease. See your dietitian or nutritionist today. It may add years to your life and life to your years. Check your newspaper for another in this series on diabetes.

Words for good health for you and your family from your dietitian.

Idamae Hanna M.P.H.,R.D.
Write me at:
Better Living Health Center
P.O. Box N-7416 Nassau, Bahamas
Call me at: 323-5476