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Jul 28, 2015

Diabetes Association Hosts 5th Annual Camp

Did you know that a significant percentage of the population is diabetic? And that another significant number of persons do not even know they have the disease? Well, the Belize Diabetes Association is having its fifth annual Camp for Diabetic Children at the ITVET Compound this week. The camp will conclude on Saturday and, for the first time, a Diabetic Youth Health Fair will take place in which the participants will showcase their experiences acquired. Duane Moody stopped by the ITVET today to find out more.

 

Duane Moody, Reporting

Diabetes is a long-term chronic disease caused by high blood sugar levels in the body. A person becomes diabetic because insulin production is inadequate, or because the body’s cells do not respond properly to insulin, or both. According to the Ministry of Health, diabetes—and its related complications—is the largest single killer in Belize; approximately fifteen percent of the population is diabetic and it is not specific to the adult demographic. Children as young as five years old suffer from the disease. Since Monday, the Belize Diabetes Association began its annual camp for diabetic children.

 

Ronald Stuart

Ronald Stuart, Asst. Treasurer, Belize Diabetic Association

“This is our fifth annual diabetic youth camp. It is for children or young people. We have participants as young as five years old and going up to about twenty-one. It is for them who have been recently diagnosed to learn how to manage their condition, to understand better what diabetes is and how they can live healthy lifestyles or to live a very good quality life with the condition, with the proper nutrition and exercise.”

 

In 2013, it was estimated that over three hundred and eighty-two million people throughout the world had diabetes. Diabetics will typically experience frequent urination, become increasingly thirsty and hungry. And for the parents and children in attendance at the camp, the disease is very much real. Ten year old Diane Castillo was diagnosed with type-one diabetes five months ago and is taking insulin twice daily.

 

Diane Castillo

Diane Castillo, Diabetic

“My mom noticed that there were strange things happening with me and she took me to the polyclinic and the next day I went to school and she went to get the results of my blood test. It said that I had that my sugar was over a thousand and I had diabetes and I had to be taken to the hospital immediately.”

 

Duane Moody

“What were some of the symptoms that you had…were you feeling dizzy?”

 

Diane Castillo

“Well I felt hungry a lot, thirty…I always wanted to go to the bathroom. I would always be tired and dizzy yes. It’s teaching you about the insulin types, it’s teaching you about testing yourself and it’s teaching you about all the healthy things you should eat and many more.”

 

Clyde Lewis

Nineteen year old Clyde Lewis has been living with diabetes for the past two years. He says that a healthy nutrition has kept him alive.

 

Clyde Lewis, Diabetic

“I first found out on my birthday, September eleventh. I started eating some ice cream, cakes and thing and then a day or two after I felt bad, throwing up. After that I felt week and I went to the healthcare center and they checked my sugar and had to rush me down to the hospital.”

 

Duane Moody

“What type of diabetes do you have?”

 

Clyde Lewis

“I am type-one; we are insulin dependent and we use insulin to help break down our sugar.”

 

This year, however, the campers have a heavy heart because in February, one of their own, sixteen year old Rhea Young lost her life to the disease.

 

Ronald Stuart

“As an activity for closure for the children who have been coming to the camp in previous years with her, we had an activity where we did memories of her through art and sharing those together so that they will be able to have that opportunity to close that particular experience and to remember her in the way she was; very vibrant. And for us to also be mindful that young persons are being victims to this illness and for us to also recognize that we need to ensure that we do as much as possible.”

 

So what is the leading cause of the disease?

 

Ronald Stuart

“It is important for us to reach as many of our population as possible to let them know that they too may be susceptible to developing the condition based on their family health history or their lifestyle. While this camp is for children and young people who are living with type-one diabetes, a growing number of persons of their same age range are developing type-two which is because of lifestyle, unhealthy eating.”

 

Serious long-term complications of diabetes include cardiovascular disease, stroke, chronic kidney failure, foot ulcers, and blindness. Duane Moody for News Five.

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