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Nov 11, 2021

COVID Chronicles: The Mind/Body Connection For Those With Diabetes

The data is alarming. Forty one percent of those who have died from COVID in Belize had diabetes. That is over two hundred of the five hundred plus deaths. Even pre-COVID, in 2018, Belize was ranked number fourteen globally for diabetic related deaths. This may sound depressing, even make you want to switch to another, happier program. But as News Five’s Paul Lopez discovered while doing this week’s COVID Chronicles, diabetics can take charge of their own health. They can focus not only on their physical needs, but mental and emotional states as well. And supporting each other is key.


Paul Lopez, Reporting.

The COVID 19 virus and its variants are causing more diabetics to die.  Even before the pandemic, being diagnosed with diabetes was frightening. Anthony Castillo knows the feeling. He was told he had diabetes twenty- five years ago. He works as a Diabetes Educator for the Belize Diabetes Association.


Anthony Castillo

Anthony Castillo, Diabetes Educator

“Most persons when they get develop diabetes, I think because of the lack of information to a certain extent. They think it is a death sentence, so it starts to play on their minds. If I develop diabetes I will probably die. More so with the sort of statistics from Ministry of Health of persons who are dying, or living with diabetes. So it is a mind thing.”


Mediator and Counselor Anne Cuvas agrees that digesting constant information on COVID19 cases and deaths affects both the mind and body. While it is natural to be concerned about COVID, she says you have to focus on the good things in life.


Anne Cuvas

Anne Cuvas, Mediator/Counselor

“Positivity, the mental mind, if it is positive your body will be positive. If it is negative, your body will be negative. If you allow toxicity in your life it will envelope you, it will take you all over. And, it is ok to say listen, my friends, I have heard that from Channel Five, I have all the statistics. Let’s talk about what are you gonna cook for lunch, what are you going to cook for dinner? Is there a birthday coming up? Change the atmosphere of what is coming into you.”


At this critical time, the Diabetic Association of Belize offers education and guidance for better physical health.


Anthony Castillo

“We urge persons living with diabetes during these COVID times to have a balanced diet, right? Not to be loading up on carbohydrates which would elevate our sugar level. We ask them to find some means of exercise. If you can’t come out an exercise, try to find something at home that you could do to exercise. Medication, take your medication as prescribed by your physician, your doctor.”


But as we have established, a healthy mind also leads to improves physical health.  And so does maintaining friendships and bonds with those who love and support you.


Anne Cuvas

“You are telling yourself that I am not feeling good. Yes, you are not feeling good. But if your mind is saying, listen I got up this morning. I have an opportunity. I am going to get through this. I have a friend of mine, a nurse, who was in the ICU for thirty days. And, we got together, Alumni from St. Catherine’s, we got together video tapped it, all positive, everything positive. We sent it to her video wise, and that made her day. She couldn’t help herself. We got for the family. And it is a collaborative effort.”


Stress and worry are known to elevate sugar levels. Talking through these feelings is important.


Anne Cuvas

“People have to realize, look, I need to sit myself in the couch and I need to talk through this, and say exactly how I feel and let those feelings out. So, more and more people are seeking professional help, counselors and psychologists. I myself, I have my favorite psychologist. I can’t get through this without talking about how I am feeling.”


A healthy balance of physical and mental self-care will increase your chances of controlling diabetes and staying healthy.


Anthony Castillo

“We often say this to our members, having diabetes is not a death sentence, but you need to do the right things, more so now that the pandemic is here.”

Reporting for News Five, I am Paul Lopez.


World Diabetes day will be recognized on Sunday November fourteenth. If you would like to know more about the Belize Diabetes Association you can contact them at 203-3333.

Viewers please note: This Internet newscast is a verbatim transcript of our evening television newscast. Where speakers use Kriol, we attempt to faithfully reproduce the quotes using a standard spelling system.

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