Mass tests identify new unknown local diabetics

| 31/03/2011

(CNS): During free nationwide diabetes screening last weekend many people were newly diagnosed as diabetics with critically high blood sugar levels. These people were immediately identified and referred to the Cayman Island’s Emergency Room for further treatment and others visited the screening location’s doctor in HSA’s ER the following day for further treatment. The Rotarians who organised the public nationwide screening said it was gratifying to know that the first health event of its kind had informed people who did not know of their diabetic status and get them help.

Hundreds of children and adults attended the event held at seven locations: Kirk Supermarket; Cost U Less, Hurley’s Supermarket, Foster’s Republix, Foster’s Strand, Foster’s Airport and Foster’s Countryside. Some of the multiple free services that were offered included; blood sugar checks, HbA1C – which gives a 3 month range of one’s blood sugar – height, weight, body mass index (BMI); on site consultations with general practitioners, paediatricians, nutritionists and pharmacists.

This island-wide diabetes screening event was conceived, proposed, intricately planned and implemented by Nurse and Rotarian, Zelta Gayle who is Chair, of Rotary Central’s Diabetes Initiative.

Prior to this, in 2000, she was one of the lead team members who launched the Faith Hospital Diabetes Clinic, for which she wrote the Clinics’ guidelines, created and maintained an electronic database of Cayman Brac’s Diabetics.She had also functioned as Diabetic Clinic Coordinator & Educator until she relocated to Grand Cayman.

In show of his full support of the Rotary Central’s diabetes initiative’s goals which are the early identification of undiagnosed diabetics and also the identification of many uncontrolled diabetics, Mark Scotland the health minister visited one of the seven screening locations, registered had his blood sugar test done and was automatically entered in the free raffle for a chance to win a blood sugar monitor system. Scotland’s Ministry donated CI $1,000, to cover the costs associated with purchasing the HbA1C machines’ cartridges which were used during the community screening. 

Gayle also said another important goal of the event was to sensitize the public about the prevalence of the disease within the Cayman community and what part each person can play in minimizing its occurrence.

Jennifer Ahearn, the Chief Officer in the ministry said diabetes is a very important disease and many people may be unaware that they are borderline or already diabetic. “Screening events like (this) can play an important role in helping people learn their status and hopefully take preventative steps to maintain their health,” she said.


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  1. Sarah says:

    I would like to see some stats.  Out of x tested, y were found to have diabetes.  z% had not previously been aware.

    Yes I am a geek.

    • Common Sense says:

       It BREAKS MY HEART to see parents of all nationalities giving their toddlers 100% sugary high fructose corn syrup laced fruit juices, highly processed breakfast cereals, frozen foods loaded with sodium as well as ordering from the unhealthy grocery store deli counters.

      Helllllooooo?  Fosters, Hurleys, Kirks:  You banded together for the bring-your-own grocery bags to save our environment, NOW it is time to stop profiting from the obesity of your customers and start offering diabetic friendly choices.

      Sadly, a diabetic’s diet needs to be mostly protein and ours here is mostly processed carbs (White flour, Rice, Breads, Pastas, Junk Food = all poison for a true diabetic with high blood sugar levels.)  

      The South Beach Diet is a good one for controlling glucose levels……BUT, you will have to give up bad carbs and eat more vegetables that are NOT "Pumpkin, Breadfruit, and Cassava!"  These are all high Glycemic Index foods that spike blood sugar levels.  See this chart and change your life:

      Lean meats, broiled (not fried) fish, green vegetables, and for god sakes, give up the sodas and fruit juices before they kill you!

      • Miss Conception says:

        The direct link between sugar consumption and diabetes was debunked as a myth some time ago.  So the sugar spike point is irrelevant.  What is left is the indirect link between obesity and diabetes, and obesity is affected by poor diet.


        • West Bayer says:

          please supply this proof

        • Anonymous says:

          Many people have diabetes and are not obese. However, sugar intake can make you fat since it spikes your insulin levels which causes (1) you to become ravenous and consume many more calories; and (2) much of your caloric intake to be stored as bodyfat. This is the principle that the South Beach Diet is based on. Sugar intake is not irrelevant. Must be the high fructose corn syrup industry selling you that bag of goods.

          I trust that we agree that once you have diabetes you should avoid foods with high sugar content.

      • Anonymous says:

        I agree with almost all of your post, however, cassava and breadfruit are NOT high glycemic index foods. At 46 cassava rates as a low glycemix index food while breadfruit, at 68, is a medium glycemic index food. Both these foods contain starch but they also contain a high amount of fibre and good nutrition. They will not spike blood sugar levels. They are not processed. While pumpkin is relatively high on the glycemix index it has a relatively low glycemic load (it is fibrous and watery) and very nutritious. These foods should not be mentioned in the same category as white rice and white flour.

    • Rob says:

       Geek or no geek, you’re not alone. I would like to see too.

  2. West Bayer says:

    All you have to do is stand in line at lunch time at Foster’s by the airport and watch what we Caymanians put in our bodies. It’s disgusting. Fried chicken, fruit punch, macaroni and cheese,etc etc etc. The average Caymanian doesn’t have a clue about proper nutriton nor do they care. Until Caymanians take accountability for what they put in their bodies we will continue to get fatter and fatter and increasingly unhealthy. I for one am raising my children to make proper choices at the luch line and will educate them on proper nutriton. And everyone should remember; no one likes a fat chick.

  3. Anonymous says:

    Rather than curing it how about not developing it in the first place?

    Type 2 diabetes is by far the most prevelant and is caused by lifestyle. In particular bad diet and no exercise.

    Obesity and type 2 diabetes go hand in hand, and Cayman has a serious culturally ingrained problem with obesity.

  4. Anonymous says:

    this was a great initiative by rotary central, much needed.

  5. Anonymous says:

    This is great that the free screening has helped identify more people with this problem. What would be better if there was an education campaign about how to cure diabetes. It’s very easy to cure and in most cases can be cured within weeks. All the diabetic need do is change their diet. If you’re serious about wanting to cure your diabetes and want to live a long life read this book. "Eat to Live" by Joel Fuhrman