While the message of having a healthy diet and regular exercise has been resonating among especially those living with diabetes, Lakeisha Wilson, Nutritionist with the Ministry of Health said that some members of that demographic have been non-compliant with doctors’ orders.
Grant made the revelation during an interview with NewslineTCI during World Diabetes Day, on November 14, as she accompanied the Health Promotion and Advocacy Unit to conduct Blood sugar and Blood Pressure tests on members of the public at the Graceway IGA Supermarket.
“This (message of a healthy lifestyle) is resonating amongst the local population. However, we will have a long way to go. We do need persons to take their health seriously, even those persons who have already been diagnosed. We have a lot of patients that are non-compliant, simply refusing to take their medication and that is not good enough,” she remarked.
She pointed out that while the ministry is not against diabetic patients that have decided to go cold turkey, said that doctors’ expertise should be the basis of such decisions.
“If you are on meds, we have to be proactive and follow the doctor’s orders, particularly if you choose not to use medication as your treatment plan. If you decide to go cold turkey and just use lifestyle factors, we do not encourage against it, but you do not have to do it independently. You should do it with the assistance and guidance of the doctor,” advised.
She added: “You should do it possibly with a lower dose, but not completely eliminating it, because we are also trying to protect other organs that could be severely impacted, especially the vital organs such as the kidney, which tends to be impacted with the case of diabetes.”
For her part, Hannah Devellott, Programme Officer for the Health Promotion and Advocacy Unit, speaking on the public testing, stated: “We have taken certain initiatives to try to inform the public about their blood glucose level, as well as their blood pressure as well.”
She stated that on many occasions, persons might be afflicted with diabetes and high blood pressure, but only when public tests are done, realized that they had the ailment.
“Many times, people have undiagnosed diabetes, undiagnosed hypertension, and only when they conducted tests, and medical professionals can advise them if it is outside of the normal range, is when they become aware. We even have persons who are supposed to take medications, but they don’t. So, we are also here to reinforce that you have to maintain a healthy lifestyle, take the necessary medications that you have been prescribed in order to maintain your levels.
“And of course, the Health Promotion and Advocacy Unit is trying its best to promote healthier lifestyles. We live a lot of trajectory lifestyles, we need to get moving, whether it's more walking, more jogging, more swimming on the beach, something to get our cardio levels up. And healthy lifestyles also help to decrease non-communicable diseases,” she said.