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Fighting a monster


by R. Andrew Cummings 13.MAR.08

Arguably, it is the most widespread predatory disease on the rampage throughout the world. In its unrelenting attacks, it leaves millions with multiple disabilities and medical complications like blindness, strokes, heart disease, kidney problems, high blood pressure and poor circulation among others. Medical science considers it controllable but not curable.{{more}} I am talking about Diabetes also called ‘Sugar” in our part of the world.

Who and what to blame?

Genes and life style are said to be the main culprits. It is common knowledge that different people have different genetic weaknesses to diabetes and the metabolic syndrome of which it is part. They become hapless victims of this raging monster.


The recent publication on diabetes, in the Public Library of Science, reveals a new interpretation of metabolic syndrome. Diet, which brings on obesity or overweight is one of the key factors in contracting diabetes especially in non-insulin dependent diabetics. Often, they find it difficult to follow a diet plan or to motivate themselves to exercise. As a result they eat more calories than they burn up which triggers and ignites the diabetic condition.

Counter attack

Instead of keeping one’s hands at the sides in this vicious and bruising boxing ring

the diabetic must fight back relentlessly, vigorously and sensibly.

Firstly – healthy eating, as advised by the health experts, can be a knock out punch. Diabetics who eat healthily are known to live long and normal lives.

Secondly – Bariatric surgery in which a band is put around the stomach to restrict the quantity of food it can hold. It is instructive to note that 75% of bariatric patients have had their diabetes completely wiped out. What relief!

Thirdly – direct drug based intervention and insulin, where needed, are proven to control blood glucose levels.

Commentary and Observation

Diabetes is a silently creeping killer if left to its own devices, whims and fancies. Our culture, driven by a compulsive appetite for all kinds of high caloried foods, is the soil for which diabetes is best suited. Our excuse for avoiding and even rejecting healthy foods like christophene, ochroes, spinach, cauliflower, etc is that they are too expensive to buy or grow. Ironically, the experts brand diabetes as a disease of rich or reasonably well off countries. Roughly 10,000 to 12,000 Vincentians are reported to be diabetics in a population of 106,000 – high by any measurement.

Unless strict dietary controls are embraced as a way of life or science finds an easily accessible cure, the rampant monster will continue on its destructive path leaving in its wake a badly torn health, social and economic fabric. It is time for us as a nation to embark on the “wellness revolution”.

Forgotten point

Unless there is a highly conditioned mind set organised for the war with diabetes all other efforts may well be in vain. After all, ancient civilisations knew, very well, that a fit mind was a necessary adjunct of a fit body. Let us therefore tackle Diabetes in body, mind and soul sooner than later.

Writer’s note – All medical facts herein expressed have been taken from authoritative medical journals. Commentary and observations are based on the writer’s personal understanding and observations of the ailment from a layman’s point of view.