Government urges community to “Act Now” on Diabetes

POSTED: 11/15/11 4:37 AM

St. Maarten – The Collective Prevention Services (CPS), executing agency of the Ministry of Public Health, Social Development and Labor is joining in today’s commemoration of World Diabetes Day. November 14 is observed worldwide as World Diabetes Day to mark the birthday of Frederick Banting who worked with Charles Best to discover insulin in 1922. The drug is a life-saving treatment for diabetes patients.

Diabetes Day was started by the International Diabetes Federation (IDF) and the World Health Organization (WHO) as a means of raising global awareness of diabetes, its escalating rates around the world and how to prevent the illness in most cases.
Diabetes is a chronic disease, which occurs when the pancreas does not produce enough insulin, or when the body cannot effectively use the insulin it produces. This leads to an increased concentration of glucose in the blood (hyperglycemia).
Type 1 diabetes (previously known as insulin-dependent or childhood-onset diabetes) is characterized by a lack of insulin production. Symptoms include excessive urinating, thirst, constant hunger, weight loss, vision changes and fatigue. These symptoms may occur suddenly.
Type 2 diabetes (formerly called non-insulin-dependent or adult-onset diabetes) is caused by the body’s ineffective use of insulin. It often results from excess body weight and physical inactivity. Symptoms may be similar to those of Type 1, but are often less marked. As a result, the disease may be diagnosed several years after onset, once complications have already arisen. Until recently, this type of diabetes was seen only in adults but it is now also occurring in children.
Gestational diabetes is hyperglycemia that is first recognized during pregnancy. Symptoms are similar to Type 2 and are most often diagnosed through prenatal screening, rather than reported symptoms.

Over time, diabetes can damage the heart, blood vessels, eyes, kidneys, and nerves. Simple lifestyle measures like a healthy diet, regular physical activity, maintaining a normal body weight and avoiding tobacco use have been shown to be effective in preventing or delaying the onset of Type 2 diabetes.
“We appeal to the St. Maarten community to “Act Now” and bring about change in your families,” a release stated.
The World Health Organization estimates that more than 346 million people worldwide have diabetes. This number is likely to more than double by 2030 without intervention. Almost 80 per cent of diabetes deaths occur in low- and middle-income countries.

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