18 November 2022
World Diabetes Day takes place every year on 14 November. It aims to raise awareness of the need for health professionals and those living with diabetes to have good access to “education to protect tomorrow”. As part of this year’s day, on Saturday 12 November the Health and Social Care Portfolio were available at The Canister for free diabetes risk score screening.
In total 21 people were screened for risk of diabetes. The average person who came for screening weighed 76.7kg with a height of 1.67m. This means the average body mass index fell in the overweight category. 62% of the screens were carried out on women. Nearly half of the survey population were between 18—49 years old.
People who had a risk score that placed them in the moderate to high risk categories from diabetes illness were encouraged to make contact with the health service to book an appointment with the dietitian or GP. Factors which might put someone in the moderate to high risk category include age, gender, waist circumference or high body mass index
The Health and Social Care Portfolio is concerned the risk of being diabetic on St Helena is greater than in other countries of the world, where 1 in 10 people is living with diabetes. The reasons for this are genetics, food choices, lack of exercise, and not maintaining a healthy body weight.
The recent Joint Strategic Needs Assessment (JSNA), completed in partnership with the UK Health Security Agency, showed that one in four people on St Helena are taking a diabetic medication and that many people are experiencing poor health in their last two decades of life.
Most of the diabetes on island is type 2 and can be managed with changes in food choices, increasing exercise, smoking cessation and when prescribed, regular medication. It is likely the people who chose to be screened were health conscious and therefore this sample may not be representative of the whole population on St Helena.
If you would like a free diabetes risk screen watch out for more pop up events in 2023. Alternatively you can phone and book an appointment with the diabetes nurse (Jackie Henry) or dietitian (Sarah Mattinson) on telephone number 22321.
Dietitian Sarah Mattinson said:
“If not managed correctly, diabetes poses a significant risk to people. However we have the tools to help people identify if they are at risk from diabetes, and if so to manage their health in a way that hopefully avoids them ultimately developing diabetes. For those with diabetes, advice and support can be provided by the diabetes team to help ensure they’re managing it effectively and taking the right steps for their future health.”
“World Diabetes Day provides a good opportunity to continue the discussion about diabetes. I’d encourage anyone that might have concerns about this to get in touch with the diabetes team and we will be happy to conduct a risk screening and talk things through with you.”
18 November 2022