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(SNO) — As Saint Lucia joins the rest of the world to observe World Diabetes Day on November 14, Chief Medical Officer Dr. Merlene Fredericks says there is a need for a healthy lifestyle to manage the disease.
She also emphasized the role of the family in the management, care, prevention and education of the disease.
She described diabetes as a “lifestyle disease” which can be controlled.
“So persons need to remember that we need to try to eat healthy foods, we need to avoid foods that are high in fat, we need to avoid refined foods like the fine white flour that many of us like,” Dr. Fredericks stated.
She added that sugars, alcohol and tobacco smoke need to be avoided.
“So diabetes is really a disease that can be controlled, it is not a death sentence, it does not have to be and persons are reminded that they have to take all of the precautions; eat healthier foods, avoid sugars, exercise to decrease the chances of developing diabetes,” Dr. Fredericks said.
She also pointed to the importance of support for those who were diagnosed by the disease.
“Say someone finds out that they are newly diagnosed with diabetes, this person would have to go through some lifestyle changes so it may be that you would have to decrease the amount of sugar that you use, you would have to try to eat healthier foods,” she noted. “So we are encouraging family members to support that individual. I know sometimes in the past when persons cook there would be like two different pots of food, one that is cooked with very low salt and another that is very tasty. So maybe the family can support that person. So the person needs to cut down on the sugars, cut down on the fats, cut down on the salt, so instead of doing it for that one individual in the family maybe the whole family can adopt that lifestyle and that would help the person that is diagnosed in terms of maintaining and decreasing the severity of the diabetes, but it will also help the other members of family in terms of preventing them from going on to develop the condition.”
Throughout the month of November, the Ministry of Health and Wellness will host a series of activities with the aim of sensitizing and educating the public about diabetes.
This year World Diabetes Day was held under the theme, “The Family and Diabetes!”