Free Screening During World Diabetes Month

November 8, 2012

Bermuda Hospitals Board joins a global diabetes campaign this month highlighting the importance of education in order to protect the future health of our communities and prevent the serious health consequences of this disease.

The hospital will be offering free blood sugar, blood pressure and waist measurement screening, as well as dietary advice, in the King Edward VII Memorial Hospital  lobby between 10:00am and 2:00pm on 14 November.

The focus on waist measurement is the result of numerous international clinical trials confirming that stored fat in the abdomen increases a person’s risk factors for type 2 diabetes, as well as for stroke, cancer and heart disease.

“Measuring the waist is giving us an effective assessment tool for predicting type 2 diabetes,” says Judy Richardson, BHB Chief of Nursing, Quality & Risk. “This is a simple, easy screening method and may feel less intimidating to patients than asking them to step on a scale.”

In addition to assessing people at risk for diabetes, this year’s campaign highlights the importance of educating patients about complications from diabetes, which may include renal failure, lower limb amputations, blindness, heart disease, stroke and death.

“Another key message of our campaign concerns young people in Bermuda who are now being diagnosed with diabetes in ever increasing numbers,” adds Ms. Richardson. “As a result, our children and adolescents are coping with health problems that were once only seen in older adults.”

“Educating patients about their role in self-managing this disease is a critically important component of both prevention and treatment,” says Debbie Jones, BHB Diabetes Nurse Educator.

“Type 2 diabetes is a common and serious global health problem, which has developed as a result of rapid cultural, social and dietary changes, ageing populations, reduced physical activity and other unhealthy life style choices. There is conclusive evidence that type 2 diabetes can be prevented through nutrition counselling, increased physical activity and modest weight reduction.

“The importance of prevention, care and treatment options cannot be over-emphasized. Lifestyle interventions and socially responsible policies can promote healthy living and help prevent type 2 diabetes.”

The Diabetes Education Centre, located in the Chronic Disease Management Centre at the Mid-Atlantic Wellness Institute, plays a major role in educating the community, particularly since 20% of the Bermuda population is affected by this condition. This past year alone, 160 patients were diagnosed at the hospital with type 2 Diabetes.

In 2012, 220 clients enrolled in Diabetes Education Centre classes designed to assist and educate newly diagnosed patients. The classes include morning walks, as well as instruction in diet and cooking, as part of an effort to help clients integrate a healthy lifestyle into their daily routine.

Diabetes Fact File

  • Control of blood glucose through diet, exercise and medication is essential for people with diabetes. Over time, high blood glucose levels can cause nerve and blood vessel damage leading to vision problems, lack of sensation in the hands and feet (neuropathy), kidney damage and poor wound healing.
  • Diabetes is a leading cause of blindness, foot amputation and kidney dialysis and transplants. Two-thirds of people with diabetes die from heart disease and strokes.
  • The treatment of diabetes involves blood glucose testing, proper use of medications, planning healthy meals and regular exercise. Medications must be coordinated with meals, exercise and other activities.
  • Exercise is important for blood glucose control because exercise causes an increase in the uptake of glucose into cells and can improve glucose tolerance and insulin sensitivity. Exercise has the added benefits of promoting weight loss and improving strength and fitness.
  • People with diabetes should be careful to wear comfortable, supportive shoes and avoid exercise that raises blood pressure significantly.
  • Meal planning involves selecting healthy foods to help maintain consistent blood glucose levels while meeting energy needs for exercise and other activities. The dietary recommendations for preventing and treating diabetes are almost identical to the general recommendations for good health: Emphasize whole grains, fruits, vegetables, legumes and low-fat meat and dairy and reduce saturated fat, cholesterol, added sugars and salt. The diet should also promote weight loss and weight maintenance, especially for overweight patients.
  • Proper diet, blood glucose testing, medication use and regular exercise can improve blood glucose control, reduce the risk of other health problems and improve quality of life in people with diabetes.
  • In those with pre-diabetes, these efforts can delay the progression to diabetes and may even result in a return to normal blood glucose. Diet and exercise have also been shown to be more effective than medications in preventing diabetes.
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