Sugar Matters
March 27, 2012
Kudos to you, SVG!

I am writing this week’s article on the plane as our team from the Patsy Douglas Foundation heads home. Two weeks ago, on March 10th, all of us had arrived in St Vincent in preparation for our week long Diabetes Mission trip this year. Our team comprised 8 people, and as in the past, we visited 5 clinics throughout mainland St Vincent and Bequia.{{more}} Having been fortunate enough to be a part of this mission during this and the prior two years, I was able to see changes during that time. For right now, I will echo sentiments of the entire team in saying KUDOS TO YOU!

No, everything was not perfect. No, not everyone improved. But wow, we did see some major improvements overall this year compared to prior years.

First: Many clinics had patients whose Hemoglobin A1C measurements improved compared to last year. HURRRAAAHHH!!! I will discuss it more in the coming weeks, but as you recall the hemoglobin A1C is a measure of how well your blood sugars have been doing over the prior 3-month period. Many of you had values that were better compared to last year.

Second: more people came in to clinics saying they were using a glucose machine to test their own sugars at home-HURAAHHHH!!!! Some of you had the machines we gave you last year, some were using machines they bought on their own and others had them sent by family from abroad.

Third: more people this year said they were giving themselves their own insulin injections. HURRRAAHHH!!!! This is a huge step towards taking control of how your diabetes is treated. In some cases we understand if this is not possible, for instance if your hands tremble, or if you have trouble seeing. But aside from this, most people are ABLE to give their own insulin; they just have to be willing to do it. And this year we saw more people who were willing to take control.

What still needs some work? Well folks are still eating too much starch, and many are still wearing the wrong shoes, but those have other more complicated reasons often than simply not wanting to do the correct thing. We will talk more about that in the coming weeks.

For now, I would like to say on behalf of the entire team, thank you to the patients for showing up to clinic and trying your hardest to control your diabetes; thank you for allowing us to participate in your care; to the staff at the clinics, we thank you for accommodating our team and helping us know how best to support your huge year-long efforts towards improving health of all your patients with Diabetes; to the Ministry we thank you for your support of our mission and your enthusiasm; to the ownership and staff of the Hotel Alexandrina, we thank you for your hospitality in making us feel at home during this entire week; and to a very special Mr Bramble, who was our guide on sleepy mornings and hot afternoons, making our way to and from clinics.

We are already looking forward to our trip back next year!

Until next week, stay safe and Healthy Vincies!

Anita Ramsetty, MD
Director, Roper St.Francis Diabetes Center,
Charleston, SC
Tel: 843-720-8439