By Benjamin Flowers, Staff Reporter
Belize joined other nations on Friday in observing World Diabetes Day. The day, observed annually on Friday November 14, was celebrated under the theme “Healthy Living.”
The Diabetes Association of Belize held a health fair at the Battlefield Park to raise awareness about the day and about the health risks associated with diabetes.
Several other health sector stakeholders, including the Belize Cancer Society, Pharmacy Association of Belize and the Belize Council for the Visually Impaired were also represented at the event.
The fair featured free blood sugar checks, eye examinations and information about diabetes and several other conditions.
President of the DAB, Anthony Castillo, explained that the fair was full of useful information for both those living with diabetes and those who want to expand their knowledge on the disease.
He added that the fair is the culmination of two weeks’ worth of awareness activities including visiting schools and business places.
The association also held a walk and a ride for diabetes awareness in the first two weeks of November.
Generally, diabetes is when the body loses its ability to maintain normal blood sugar levels because of some form of deficiency in the pancreas. There are several types of diabetes, the more common types referred to are Type 1, formerly juvenile onset diabetes; Type 2 formerly, adult onset diabetes; and Gestational diabetes which occurs as a result of pregnancy.
There are less common types of diabetes, such as surgically induced diabetes, chemical induced diabetes, and Latent autoimmune diabetes in adults (LADA) or type 1.5 diabetes. Symptoms common to all types of diabetes include frequent urination, excessive thirst, increased hunger, weight loss, tiredness, numbness in the hands and feet, and blurred vision. In the latter stages diabetes can cause failure of the kidneys, blindness, and an inability to heal, which may lead to limb amputation, among other symptoms.
Blood sugar levels can be managed with a balanced diet and increased physical activity; however, those suffering from diabetes are often given insulin injections to compensate for the insulin the body is not making.