Diabetes day camp ahead

A free one-day camp to educate diabetic children and their caregivers about how to manage their diabetes will be held next week.

The Cayman Islands Diabetes Association has joined forces with the Cayman Pharmacy Group to host the diabetes day camp, which will be held, free of charge, at the Chamber of Commerce conference room at Governor’s Square on Wednesday, 3 August.

Endocrinologist Dr. Diane Hislop-Chestnut, diabetes educators Nurse Andrea Hunt and Yvette Strachan, and exercise physiologist Sensei Floyd Baptiste will speak and make presentations at the Joining Hands Together for Better Diabetes Care camp.

Sylvia Perry of the Cayman Islands Diabetes Association said the camp would help children learn to manage their diabetes.

She said there appeared to be a general lack of understanding about the seriousness of the disease in Cayman.

“People have got to come to terms with their diabetes. Many people feel ‘it’s only diabetes’, they don’t think they can die from it, but the fact is they can die from complications of diabetes,” Ms Perry said.

With no database in Cayman to track exactly how many diabetics are on the Islands, there is no way of knowing how widespread the disease is here, but Ms Perry said she fears it is much more common than the official estimate of 5 per cent of the population, or approximately 2,000 sufferers.

“We are hoping to be able to put together a database with the help of doctors and the government,” she said.

She cited as an example of the importance of testing, a Rotary Central Club initiative earlier this year to test members of the public for free, at which several previously undiagnosed diabetics were discovered.

Next week’s camp is open to kids of all ages who have diabetes and their families so that management and control of their diabetes can be explained to them.

Ms Perry said it was vital to ensure that children and adults learn how to control their diabetes, whether they have Type 1 or Type 2 diabetes.

She said one of the reasons for holding the camp to “take the fear out” of diabetes and this could be done by educating diabetics about how to control, monitor and manage diabetes. Part of that fear is a simple fear of needles, Ms Perry said, adding that some people don’t want to get tested because it involves taking a small amount of blood.

During Wednesday’s event, participants will be given an overview of the disease and information about insulin management and how to avoid complications of diabetes.

There will also be a “rate your plate” session, as well as glucose testing and monitoring and a question and answer session on diabetes facts.

Ms Perry said she hoped children who are reaching puberty will attend the event as this is one of the most difficult times in a diabetic child’s life. “When children reach puberty, they need a lot of help with their diabetes management. It can get very difficult to control diabetes during puberty,” she said.

“One of the side effects of diabetes is depression and kids get depressed when they seem to be doing everything right, but their [blood sugar] numbers go up,” she added. “We’re hoping to get some at the camp in that age range so we can explain what’s going on and why they’re experiencing what they’re experiencing.”

Anyone who wants to attend the camp, which will be held from 9.30am to 4pm on Wednesday, 3 August, should register by calling 946-2407.