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Guyana: Diabetes in children increasing

Min Lawrence urges affected to take control of their condition

ABOUT 100 children from across Guyana are suffering from ‘type 1’ diabetes, but Public Health Minister Volda Lawrence believes that they should not look at it as the end of the world and instead be champions of their condition.

President of the GDA, Glynis Alonzo-Beaton, speaking to the children who are participating in the three-day camp (Samuel Maughn photo)

“I want to say be champions of your condition… feel free to speak about it and I know even as you fight, you are helping to save other lives,” said Minister Lawrence in her remarks at the launch of a three-day annual diabetes youth camp organised by the Ministry of Public Health in collaboration with the Guyana Diabetics Association (GDA).

Children who are suffering from diabetes usually have low self-esteem, but through the programme, the organisers intend to educate the participants about their condition; teaching them how to take their medication and deal with depression.

According to the Pan American Health Organisation (PAHO), Diabetes Mellitus is a chronic metabolic disease characterised by elevated blood glucose (hyperglycemia). It is associated with an absolute or relative deficiency in the secretion and/or action of insulin. Raised blood glucose, a common effect of uncontrolled diabetes, may, over time, lead to serious damage to blood vessels, eyes, kidneys, nerves and increases the risk of heart attack and stroke.

There are three main forms of diabetes: type 1, type 2, and gestational diabetes. Type 2 diabetes is the most common, accounting for approximately 85 per cent to 90 per cent of all cases. It is related to modifiable risk factors such as obesity or overweight, physical inactivity, and high-calorie diets of low nutritional value.

In 2011, it was reported that there were 54 children in Guyana who have diabetes. Over the years, the number has evidently grown, so the ministry has been working to ensure that the children are educated about the disease.

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