Diabetes needs to be tackled like Covid-19 pandemic – expert
Covid-19 has helped people change the way they think about their health, according to a diabetes educator.
But Sara Bosch de Noya, of the Bermuda Diabetes Association, believes the condition needs to be treated as a pandemic if it is to be properly overcome.
Ms Bosch de Noya said: “Although diabetes is by no means in the same stream, we can look at the epidemic proportions of it in terms of how many people are affected globally.”
She said that health departments and governments had worked together to tackle Covid-19 and added: “If we learn from some of those ways and thinking in a collaborative and collective way, how can we come together to address the epidemic of Type 2 diabetes?”
Ms Bosch de Noya was speaking during a Hamilton Rotary Club meeting on Monday.
The educator, who has been with the BDA for 16 years, pointed out that 15 to 20 per cent of Bermudians struggle with diabetes – compared with the global average of ten per cent.
She added that many of these cases were Type 2 diabetes caused by a sedentary lifestyle and poor diet, as well as by genetic factors.
Ms Bosch de Noya said that, according to a study by the American Diabetes Association, diabetes as a whole was “exponentially” on the rise around the world.
Although Bermuda has done well to spread awareness of the problems of diabetes, she believes more could be done to offer better access to healthcare and information on prevention.
She said that the BDA’s pharmacy, which is open to everyone regardless of their diabetes status, had seen a “significant increase” in visits.
For many people visiting, Covid-19 had been a “call to action” and they wanted to learn more about diabetes and how to take proactive measures.
“We can look at some of this being the other side of the pandemic – people getting their annual physicals now, people coming towards a lifestyle change regarding the way they exercise and certain ways physical activity occurred during the last two years.
“People are coming out of Covid thinking ‘what can I do with my own health behaviours to lower my risk of diabetes?’
“We’ve looked inwardly where we’ve all had personal responsibilities for looking for and maintaining our health through a Covid pandemic.”
Ms Bosch de Noya encouraged the public to learn more about whether or not diabetes runs in their family and having their blood glucose levels checked annually.
She also urged the public to make changes towards their health, which included switching towards a healthier diet and exercising daily.