Diabetes Health Fair helps shed light on the chronic illness

Health fair attendee gets blood sugar checked. - Photo: Andrel Harris

The Lions Club of Grand Cayman held its inaugural Diabetes Health Fair on Saturday, 14 Nov. in recognition of World Diabetes Day.

“This year’s theme is ‘The Nurse and Diabetes’”, said Lions Club member Yvette McField, the organiser of the event. “Diabetes also happens to be one of the five core health areas that Lions Club International also focusses on.”

The fair featured booths providing a variety of information about the three types of diabetes – type 1, type 2 and gestational (in pregnant women) – their warning signs, and both traditional medical and alternative remedies that can be used to control the disease.

Badir Awe is tested at a screening at the Diabetes Health Fair. – Photo: Andrel Harris

“The true extent of the prevalence of diabetes in Cayman is still unknown,” said Cayman Islands Diabetes Association president Sylvia Perry. “We can only gather a vague understanding from those who get tested and, of course, not everyone wants to get tested.”

Perry said each year CIDA tests about 600 people; of that number 20% are either diabetic or have signs of pre-diabetes.

The Diabetes Association, together with the Cayman Islands Health Services Authority, offered free screenings to visitors at Saturday’s event.

The most recent information on diabetes in Cayman comes from a report that was contained in the 2010 census. In that report, 43 out of every 1,000 people were said to have been diagnosed with a form of the disease.

Panellists discuss living with diabetes at the inaugural Diabetes Health Fair.

Mennen Hydes, 24, was diagnosed with type 1 diabetes at the age of 9. She participated in  a panel discussion at the fair.

“While there is some information available on how to live with diabetes, especially [for] young children, there still needs to be much more,” said Hydes.

“I would like to see other members of the diabetes community come together and help to spread awareness; not just on World Diabetes Day, but throughout the year,” she added.

McField said of the event, “The aim of today was to educate, and inform people, so that we might be able to prevent the spread of diabetes. As long as we have helped at least one person, it will have been a success.”

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