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The Role of the Family in Diabetes Management

The Role of the Family in Diabetes Management

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Thursday, November 14 2017 will be celebrated as World Diabetes Day. The theme for World Diabetes Day is centred around protecting the family.

This theme was selected to raise awareness of the impact that Diabetes has on the family and support network of those affected and to promote the role of the family in the management, care, prevention and education of diabetes. As we know, when someone is diagnosed with Diabetes, it is more than just a personal issue. The family plays an important role in supporting and caring for these persons.

Over 425 million people are currently living with diabetes. Most of these cases are type 2 diabetes, which is largely preventable through regular physical activity, a healthy and balanced diet, and the promotion of healthy living environments. Families have a key role to play in addressing the modifiable risk factors for type 2 diabetes and must be provided with the education, resources and environments to live a healthy lifestyle.

One in 2 people currently living with diabetes is undiagnosed. Most cases are type 2 diabetes. Early diagnosis and treatment are key to prevent the complications of diabetes and achieve healthy outcomes. All families are potentially affected by diabetes and so awareness of the signs, symptoms and risk factors for all types of diabetes are vital to help detect it early.

Diabetes is a leading cause of blindness, amputation, heart disease, kidney failure and early death. Diabetes and its related complications are one of the leading causes of death in St. Vincent and the Grenadines. Diabetes is also a major cause of morbidity accounting for most of the amputations that take place in SVG.

In terms of monetary significance, the Government of St Vincent and the Grenadines spends a significant amount of money for the care and treatment of patients with diabetes. Diabetes medication along with treatment modalities can become very costly especially when long term care is needed.

Family support in diabetes care has been shown to have a substantial effect in improving health outcomes for people with diabetes. It is therefore important that ongoing diabetes self-management education and support be accessible to all people with diabetes and their families to reduce the many impact of the disease that can result in a negative quality of life.

Dr Rosmond Adams, MD; MSc (Public Health); M.S (Bioethics) is a medical doctor and a public health specialist with training in bioethics and ethical issues in medicine, the life sciences and research. He is a lecturer of medical ethics and Research Methods.

He is the Head of Health Information, Communicable Disease and Emergency Response at the Caribbean Public Health Agency (CARPHA). He is also a member of the World Health Organization Global Coordination Mechanism on the Prevention and Control of NCDs.

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