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Diabetics – Please continue to take your medicine

Diabetics – Please continue to take your medicine

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“Take your medicine!”

Vincentian born Endocrinologist Dr. Anita Ramsetty said this advice could be the most effective tool that she has to offer diabetic patients.{{more}}

In an interview with SEARCHLIGHT on Tuesday, March 22, at the Levi Latham Health Centre, Mesopotamia, Ramsetty, a member of the Patsy Douglas Youth Foundation Empowerment Fund medical team to St.Vincent and the Grenadines, said, “Please! Take your medicine.”

Ramsetty said to an extent, she understands why some diabetics do not take their medications or take them the way they do.

She said that it has been discovered that a lot of people don’t take their medications, because they don’t feel well after taking them.

“We don’t know if that’s so because it was a side effect, because their blood sugars stayed high, because their blood sugars went low. You have no idea and they just stopped and they never tell their nurse, their doctor, until they come back three, six months later and they’ve been off medication for all that time,” said Ramsetty.

“That’s the one thing I will encourage them in, stay on your medication. If you don’t feel well, tell your district nurse, tell your physician and have them change it. Don’t just drop it because you can do yourself more harm,” said Ramsetty.

Ramsetty joined the team last year, but said she was able to contribute more this year by being a part of the planning session for the programme.

“We had a goal of doing some more monitoring and additional teaching. So I was excited about what we could do this year as well, on top of what we did last year,” said Ramsetty.

Giving an assessment of the medical team’s achievements in St.Vincent and the Grenadines in 2010, Ramsetty said under the best circumstances, the progress with diabetes is slow.

“The major changes over the last two years that I can see have been more foot screening, which was the initial big stress. So the clinics are doing more foot screenings for diabetic neuropathy and patients are more aware that they should be really particularly careful with their feet. That’s the major, major thing,” said Ramsetty.

She noted that from her analysis, people seem to be more knowledgeable about different aspects of diabetes. She said “this is huge” since addressing diabetes is driven by patient knowledge.

Ramsetty said the inability of diabetic patients here to monitor themselves is a challenge. She disclosed that is why this year’s mission brought a set of monitors to be distributed to patients.

“I used to think it’s a perfect scenario, if someone had a metre that they could check everyday, but the truth of the matter is that diabetes is driven by numbers. It’s a disease that is diagnosed by a number, not by symptoms most of the times. In order to change therapy effectively, you need to know what the numbers are and most patients don’t have a way of checking it,” said Ramsetty.

Registered Nurse at Johns Hopkins Hospital in the United States, Pamela Springer, said she is elated to be back as part of the medical mission to St.Vincent and the Grenadines.

“I am happy to see the repeat patients, because that’s very important that the patients come back, so we can track and see how effective is the work that we are doing here,” said Springer.

She said a lot of problems that diabetics face stem from availability of the services as well as the pharmaceuticals. She stated that in St.Vincent and the Grenadines, a lot of the problems are a result of lack of compliance.

“People know what they are supposed to do, they know how to do it, but they just don’t do it. But that’s every where,” said Springer.

Springer said if diabetics desire to be healthy, they have to really try to make an effort.

She said the team has not compiled this year’s data yet from surveys that they carried out, but she is hoping to see that more people are wearing closed shoes and people are compliant with their medication regimes.

“We did run into some patients who did follow a lot of the advice from last year and they look beautiful this year,” said Springer.

SEARCHLIGHT also interviewed, Dr. Lauren Shapiro, a member of the medical team. She said the mission is getting better and more efficient each year. Shapiro added that more patients are benefitting from the programme.

She said that she is honoured to be a part of the medical team.

Shapiro said she would like to encourage diabetics to take their medication as their doctors and nurses prescribe. She also encouraged persons with hypertension to also take their medications.

Shapiro is reminding patients to quit smoking if they do, watch their diets, and as much as possible exercise every day for about 30 minutes.(HN)

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