Diabetes Is Everybody’s Business: Pay Attention St David

Map of Grenada,showing Saint David Parish

by Roslyn A Douglas, MA, Founder of Central Health-Grenada

The Perdmontemps Diabetic Group of the St David’s Branch of the Grenada Diabetes Association, has planned its 3rd health educational event entitled, “Too Sweet For Your Own Good.”

The theme chosen for this year’s mini symposium is: Diabetes Is Everybody’s Business. After having discussions with other diabetics, the executive team decided for this year’s programme they wanted to arm family members of diabetics with information on how to care for their loved ones. At the end of the session, they want family members of diabetics to be more cognisant of the emotional and financial stress that tends to accompany managing this disease.

An article by AgingCare.com entitled, 10 Secrets That Aging Parents Keep, stated, “Your aging parent may be keeping secrets from you.” It goes on to say, “sometimes, when elderly parents keep secrets, it’s because they feel their independence slipping away. They might be embarrassed to ask for help. They might fear their family’s reaction. They might be afraid that family members will “put them away.”

Besides not telling immediate family members that they have not been feeling well for some time, one of the biggest secrets persons with chronic non-communicable diseases keep from their family is money shortage. The article added, “If the parent’s money supply starts to fail, he/she may cut back on buying food and medications…Clearly, this can be very dangerous.”

At the group’s 2016 November free diabetic clinic, where testing was facilitated by the Student National Medical Association, SGU, results from the intake form showed that diabetics had many struggles. The patients were allowed to select more than 1 of the following reasons to answer the question What Makes It Difficult For You To Manage Your Diabetes? The results for respondents who had high glucose reading of 130-300 were as follows:

  • 53.33% — I have no difficulty managing my diabetes,
  • 13.33% — cost of testing strips,
  • 20% — cost of lancets,
  • 13.33% — cost of medication, and
  • 6.67% — lack of family support.

Four comments captured by the in-taker from the patients were as follows:

  1. “Sometimes forgets to take medication.”
  2. “Not mobile (unable to exercise).”
  3. “Forgets morning meds when she doesn’t eat breakfast”
  4. “Knows what to eat but can’t get it.”

The fact that a diabetic has a fasting reading of over 130-300, yet still answers the question, “I have no difficulty managing my diabetes,” is an indication that some additional assistance and education is required. The cost of 50 strips can run as high as $175. With each month having an average of 30 days, a patient will require $300 on strips alone. The AIC blood test, which should be taken every 3 months costs approximately $70, while each doctor visit approximately $120. Kidney function tests can also cost approximately $120 and a healthy grocery bill may run $600 or more. When you add the cost of medications such as Diamicron and Metformin ($140); as well as needles ($140) and the pen ($80) for those who take insulin, the monthly cost for a diabetic’s basic care is close to $1500. This does not even include the other living expenses such as water, gas and electricity. Whereas some of these medications are given at a discount rate or free at the health clinics and the general hospital, sometimes supplies run out and the diabetic has to purchase these medications at the regular full price, or decide to do without.

All the aforementioned issues and more will be discussed at the upcoming Too Sweet for Your Own Good III: Diabetes Is Everybody’s business. The mini symposium will take place at The Canal in Bacolet, St David. The speakers and topics will be:

  • Why Are My Glucose Numbers High? — Dr Aslem Okeke;
  • Managing Your Medications — Clement Gabriel;
  • Diabetes & Depression — Lindonne Glasgow; and
  • A Diabetic’s Testimony — Gemma Stewart.

This free event is open to residents of St David and will take place on Thursday, 27 July 2017 at 5:30 pm. This programme was organised by President Bernadine St Bernard; Secretary Gemma Stewart; Public Relations Officer Catherine George; Treasurer Catherine Hector with the assistance of Central Health-Grenada’s Founder, Roslyn A Douglas, MA, ACB. In-kind support has been received from Spice Isle Imaging Centre, Bryden & Minors and Hon Oliver Joseph via sponsorship of buses, the printing of promotional materials and water for the attendees, respectively.

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