To end off heart awareness month, marked in September, three health care companies had a diabetes awareness drive at Christian Barnard Hospital in the Foreshore on Friday September 28.
The drive was run by Netcare, the service provider at Christian Barnard in collaboration with Pathcare and Lancet.
Members of the public had the opportunity to do a screen test for diabetes, check their blood pressure and receive information about diabetes and how to take care of themselves.
Michelle Norris, the spokesperson for the hospital, said Netcare did regular awareness campaigns to promote health to all customers and to give the community an opportunity to screen for health at no cost.
“Netcare does awareness drives for diabetes, men’s health, women’s health, heart awareness, breast cancer awareness, pregnancy awareness, breast feeding awareness and HIV Awareness. We do bi-monthly health awareness drives.”
She said it was important for people to know their glucose status in order to get early treatment that can prevent chronic diabetes Type 1 and Type 2.
People diagnosed with Type 1 diabetes do not produce insulin to lower sugar levels in the blood and need to take insulin every day.
Type 2 diabetes is the most common, and people with this type of diabetes do not make enough insulin or the body’s cells do not respond to insulin. People diagnosed with Type 2 diabetes need to take tablets to help the body make more insulin, or may need to take insulin injections every day.
Gillian Everts of Pathcare said they formed part of the awareness drives because most people didn’t have access to facilities where they are able to test themselves. “People came to get their blood sugar tested for the first time at the awareness drive and some of their results came back showing high blood sugar levels. We advised them to go for a consultation at their GP to have proper tests done.
“Some people were really shocked at their blood sugar statuses. If we didn’t provide this service, some people would never know.”
Gail Ontong, also from Pathcare, said most people knew that diabetes ran in their families, but were too scared to get tested.
“It’s not something that can be ignored. The sooner you know, the better it is for you and your health.”
She said while they only provided screening tests at the drive to give an indication of people’s health status, they were able to guide people and get them to have the proper checks done.
Lancet marketer Vuyokazi Majola said people should be more aware of their blood sugar levels so that they could preempt their condition.
“If we do a glucose test and the level in your blood is high, you need to get further checks done to see if you are a diabetic,” he said.
Nurse Jolene Rossouw said the major symptoms of diabetes are extreme thirst and hunger, and lots of urination.
“There are other symptoms as well, such as sores that don’t heal, heart palpitations and sweating. If the blood sugar is really high, it can result in the person going into a coma. We urge people who are experiencing these symptoms to get their blood sugar tested.”
Ms Norris said: “Know your status. Have yourself tested in order to know your treatment plan for healthy living.”