Tuesday, April 16, 2024

DEAR CHRISTINE: Let’s try to live healthier lives


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DEAR CHRISTINE, I was recently informed by a health specialist that I had to monitor my health situation because of some chronic illnesses which run in my family. One of these illnesses is diabetes. The other is heart disease.

I was forced to go on a rigorous “diet” in the form of an eat-healthy plan during which my weight dropped from 210 pounds to 170. I am still on the weight watchers programme, as I have to lose at least ten more pounds.

From my own research, I have discovered that eating healthy and shedding unwanted pounds is the key to a healthier way of living. During my research I also came across some information from an ophthalmologist who specialises in the treatment of diseases of the eye. Allow me to share his story with you. I just thought it would be helpful.

“You cannot imagine how frustrating, disheartening and sad it is to see patients on a daily basis who have vision loss from the effects of their diabetes. In many instances, I am the person who must inform them that they may not get their vision back and eventually they will become legally blind.

“The reason I am frustrated is because I know that if these patients had only come in earlier, or exercised better control of their blood sugar (glucose) levels, blood pressure and cholesterol, most of their visual loss could have been avoided.

“Remind readers with diabetes that by maintaining control of their blood sugar they can reduce visual loss. Every patient over the age of 30 who is diabetic should have an eye exam as soon as he or she is diagnosed and a yearly exam thereafter. Diabetic eye disease does not cause pain and it must be treated early, while vision is still good, to avoid serious loss of sight. With proper care and attention, blindness – one of the most devastating complications of diabetes – can be prevented.”(Dr David Boyer)

Of course, Christine, there is also the question of losing a limb to diabetes, suffering severe chronic pain and living with all the complications, as a result of this illness.

I want to encourage readers to live healthier lifestyles, to cut back on their salt and sugar intake, their use of enriched white flour, sweets, candy, ice cream, fried foods, the eating of processed meats, snacks, sodas, fatty meats, so-called energy drinks, which are packed with sugars, and instead concentrate on whole grain products, unsalted

nuts, vegetables, spend time preparing their own meals, especially if they are on a diet, drinking plenty of water, and take time out to exercise.

Just following simple steps such as these will go a long way. Sure enough, people say “what don’t kill does fatten” and “the strength goes through the mouth”, but we should do whatever we should to prolong life, not destroy it. We should also do whatever we can to cut down on medical costs and live more fulfilled, healthier lives.

Don’t you agree?

– Burt

Dear Burt,

I agree with you 100 per cent. Thanks so much for taking time out to write and for sharing the information which you have shared. I’ll also like to encourage more people to request copies of the Diabetes Association of Barbados newsletter.

A quick telephone call would ensure this. Linking up with the Heart & Stroke Foundation of Barbados and getting a copy of their newsletter would also be a brilliant idea, as well as speaking to folk at Cancer Support Services.

All these associations – and many others – spend a tremendous amount of time informing people on how to live healthier lifestyles.

Every step should be taken to treat, nurture and care for our bodies.

Again, thanks for writing to us.



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