“Be Aware, get Diabetes Care,” is the local slogan to commemorate World Health Day (WHD) 2016 on Thursday, April 7, said Collective Prevention Services (CPS), a department of the Ministry of Public Health, Social Development and Labour.
Dr. Perry Simmons is one of the General Practitioners on Sint Maarten who runs a family medical practice in Cole Bay.
In Simmon’s clinic, an estimated amount of 35 to 40 percent of the patients suffer from diabetes in different stages. Most common complaints he has from his patients are vision problems. He has a few patients with kidney renal issues and some with a diabetic foot or has undergone an amputation.
Dr. Simmons was interviewed in connection about WHD 2016. When it comes to this chronic disease, the physician sees patients who are diagnosed and persons who are not aware they have this disease. The last group usually visits the clinic with certain complaints.
If Simmons suspects that their blood sugar is high, he will perform a finger prick test. Depending on the outcome, the patients will receive medication to control the blood sugar level, counselling paired with education, while they will also do an extensive blood test.
In some cases, the results may be borderline and he will order a Glucose Challenge Test, in which the proper blood sugar level can be ascertained. That group of pre-diabetic patients will receive counselling and will be referred to a dietitian for healthy dieting practices and lifestyle changes.
For the patients, diagnosed with Diabetes, an extensive blood test is also done and the patients who are obese and suffer high cholesterol will also be sent to the dietitian in order to learn how to make healthy lifestyle choices. The doctor explains there are challenges for all to deal with this chronic disease.
From the professional side, the biggest challenge is to have patients understand why they have to be compliant and committed to staying healthy.
On the diabetic’s side, challenges are especially related to life style changes, whilst their profession does not always allow for them to commit to achieving a healthy lifestyle.
For example, the doctor indicated, there are very few healthy restaurants and vegetables and fruits are expensive. Some patients are in denial about their condition and refuse to comply to the advice by a medic and try to cure themselves without proper health care. This results in patients having a higher chance of developing complications.
Ignatius Peter is a 64 year old, suffering from diabetes for some years. In Ignatius’s family, members are prone to developing diabetes. He is not the only one of his siblings suffering, but a sister and a brother also had been diagnosed with diabetes prior to him.
In his case, the diabetes caused severe complications and his left under leg had to be amputated. Currently, Mr. Peter is suffering from kidney renal failure and has to be dialyzed three times a week and has a shunt placed to facilitate the dialysis. Peter has accepted the fact that he is diabetic and is trying to stay happy and healthy and does not complain. He is still capable of doing everything independently and he is even able to drive a standard car.
The international theme for WHD is Diabetes: Beat It!