Free diabetes screenings offered

The Health Services Authority and the Lions Club of Tropical Gardens will be offering free health screening on World Diabetes Day, Tuesday, Nov. 14 at the Cayman Islands Hospital atrium.

The screenings will include blood sugar, cholesterol, glaucoma and HBA1c testing.

Director of Primary Health Care Services Dr. Samuel Williams-Rodriguez is encouraging the public to take advantage of the free health screenings.

“Early detection of diabetes will enable appropriate management, preventing associated complications and ensure that the public has a good quality of life,” he said in a press release. “This year’s theme focuses on ‘Women and Diabetes,’ so we look forward to supporting women and identifying their health status in relation to this disease; notwithstanding our male population is just as important and is welcome to take part.”

The screenings will be held from 8 a.m. to 2 p.m.

On the same day, an education session on women and diabetes will be held at the Hibiscus Room at the hospital, at 5:30-7:30 p.m.

The speakers will be consultant obstetrician/GYN Dr. Gillian Evans-Belfonte and pharmacists/diabetes educator Winsome Jefferson.

Minister’s message

In a message to mark World Diabetes Day, Health Minister Dwayne Seymour said, “Diabetes is a widespread problem in the Caribbean, including here in the Cayman Islands, where the condition is often referred to as ‘sugar.’ Untreated, it can cause serious complications such as blindness, cardiovascular disease, kidney failure leading to dialysis, and lower-limb amputation.”

Quoting some global statistics, he said he was pleased that focus of this year’s theme was on women and diabetes and noted that diabetes is the ninth leading cause of death in women, causing 2.1 million deaths each year. “One in 10 women is living with diabetes,” he said.

“Women with diabetes have more difficulty conceiving and may have poor pregnancy outcomes,” he added. Without pre-conception planning, type 1 and type 2 diabetes can result in a significantly higher risk of maternal and child mortality and morbidity.”

He said one in seven births is affected by gestational diabetes, a severe threat to maternal and child health. “Many women with gestational diabetes experience pregnancy related complications including high blood pressure, large birth-weight babies and obstructed labour,” he said, adding that a significant number of women the condition develop type 2 diabetes.

“In light of this knowledge, all residents, women and men, are encouraged to be proactive and take advantage of the many health checks that are offered on the islands through health fairs and other community related activities,” the minister added.

He said people who are unable to visit the hospital and avail of Tuesday’s free screening, can make an appointment with a physician at any time to be screened for diabetes. “I would certainly recommend that anyone who has a family history of ‘sugar’ should make a point of being screened,” he said.