Alarmingly high incidence of diabetes in Antigua and Barbuda

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If what a medical official says is true, 13.5 percent of the country’s population suffers from diabetes and Medical Benefit has to dish out over one thousand prescriptions every day in diabetic medications.
“That shows the prevalence of the disease,” elaborated Non-Communicable Diseases Coordinator Nurse Valarie Williams. 
But what is even more alarming, according to Williams, is that one in every two persons are undiagnosed. So, this means the data is not painting a true picture of the disease among the population.
“So, you can imagine we can add another 2 percent of undiagnosed to that number,” she said.
Williams said apart from just having diabetes, the complications are also very startling.
According to her, between January and April of this year, 11 people had their limbs amputated at the Mount St. Johns Medical Centre while other suffered from kidney failure and heart diseases.
“To know that 80 percent of these cases are preventable through a healthy lifestyle, so, it means if people take better care of themselves, we can reduce the number of people with the disease and ultimately premature deaths,” she explained.
Meanwhile, Head of the Diabetes Association Juanita James painted an even gloomier picture on the issue of amputations, saying that arms are now being severed because of diabetes.
“We hardly saw amputation of arms before. It was usually legs. Now we have both legs being amputated and arms as well,” she said.
She said Antigua and Barbuda is not having a good outcome on fighting diabetes.
Williams was speaking ahead of World Diabetes Day which is observed on November 14 each year. This year’s theme is “Diabetes Concerns Every Family”.

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