Launch an assault on diabetes

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Letters to Newsday fourteen minutes agoAndrew Dhanoo, President of the Diabetes Association of TT. Photo courtesy of Facebook –

THE EDITOR: Because of the risks of the novel coronavirus that is causing Covid19, taking care of yourself is more important than ever. In fact, people with diabetes are among the groups at higher risk of complications from Covid19, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) note.

The good news is that proper blood sugar management can help reduce these risks. Diabetes Association of TT President Andrew Dhanoo said he was grateful that the Department of Health gave them the opportunity to vaccinate some of their members.

Health Minister Terrence Deyalsingh warned a few years ago that the growing impact of non-communicable diseases on the economy and society will increase as the population ages.

Diabetes is an example of one of these diseases. It is a serious disease that is affecting more and more adults. There are currently over 200,000 people living with diabetes and another ten percent are in a pre-diabetic stage. Even more frightening is the fact that it affects teens and children with TT.

Diabetes is the leading cause of blindness and kidney failure in adults. It causes nerve damage and, in conjunction with diabetes-related circulatory disorders, unfortunately often leads to the loss of a leg or foot. Diabetes significantly increases your risk of developing heart disease and dying from Covid19.

The good news is that diabetes can be nipped in the bud. It is time to start a campaign that focuses our resources on significantly reducing and ultimately defeating diabetes in this country.

We also need to learn to make better food choices and control our cravings as some people dig their graves with their teeth. About nine out of ten cases could be avoided simply by foregoing weight control and exercising twice a week.

Diabetes is a public health crisis. It may have lacked the immediate attention that diseases like tuberculosis and HIV have drawn, but it’s a bigger killer globally than both diseases combined, especially now with the presence of Covid19.

Without aggressive and urgent action, the number of diabetes cases could rise astronomically in the next 25 years. The human cost is enormous and the economic burden threatens to destroy health systems in this country and around the world.

If we are to make serious change, we need to focus our collective resources, efforts, and imagination more on the social and cultural determinants that put us at high risk in the first place. It’s time to launch an attack on diabetes in TT before it gets worse – and prepare for future pandemics.

SIMON WRIGHT

by email