Diabetes Centre at KEMH Offers Free Screenings to Highlight World Diabetes Month

November is World Diabetes Month and the Bermuda Hospitals Board (BHB) Diabetes Centre invites the public to take advantage of free blood sugar and blood pressure screenings in the KEMH lobby between 10 a.m. and 4:00 p.m. on November 7, 8, 9 and 10. The theme of this year’s campaign is Foot Care, a major concern for diabetics. A podiatrist will also be available during the screening to answer questions and provide education about the importance of foot care.

“With increasing numbers of patients being diagnosed with diabetes each year, we want to get the message out that complications from foot problems are among the most serious,” said Christine Johnson, one of three nurse educators at the Diabetes Centre. “Sadly, younger people in Bermuda are now being diagnosed with diabetes. As a result, we are even seeing young people with amputations.”

Worldwide, it is estimated that an amputation reduction rate of over 50% could be realized with better education. The Diabetes Centre will be informing the public about prevention, care and treatment options during its week-long screening.

The Diabetes Centre plays a major role in the community, particularly since 13% of the Bermuda population is affected by this condition. In 2004 alone, 165 patients were diagnosed with Type 2 Diabetes. This past year, 246 clients enrolled in Diabetes Centre classes designed to assist and educate newly diagnosed patients. The classes include morning walks in the Botanical Gardens as well as instruction in diet and cooking, as part of an effort to help clients integrate a healthy lifestyle into their daily routine.

The Diabetes Centre participated in six international clinical trials in 2004, including the DREAM Trial, which aims to prove diabetes can be prevented using medication. Working with the Ministries of Health and Education, the Centre was also involved with the Healthy Schools Initiative, designed to prevent obesity, an underlying cause of Type 2 diabetes.

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