Some 60,000 persons suffering from diabetes locally


An estimated 60,000 persons in Guyana are suffering from diabetes – some of whom do not know their status.

On Monday, Health Minister, Dr Frank Anthony shared that many diabetic patients access healthcare at clinics and other facilities. However, there is a large percentage who remain undiagnosed.

“We have some estimates that would say about 60,000 people in Guyana are probably diabetic. Some of them know that they have diabetes and they would come to the clinic. There are a lot of persons who qualify as diabetics but they don’t come to the clinic. Some of them remain undiagnosed because of that,” the Minister divulged.

It was highlighted that these persons show up to the hospital after other complications develop.

“We want to ensure that people do not wait until they develop complications. They should come before and get checked. If you’re obese, between 40 and older, it’s time you get a check-up.”

According to Dr Anthony, there are about 150 persons suffering specifically from type one diabetes. The Health Ministry has been providing insulin to them, since they cannot produce their own. Type one diabetes, known as insulin-dependent diabetes, is a chronic condition. In this condition, the pancreas makes little or no insulin. Insulin is a hormone the body uses to allow sugar (glucose) to enter cells to produce energy.

“We have maybe 150 persons that we know are type one diabetics. These are young people who have been diagnosed with diabetes and the Ministry has a programme where we are providing them with insulin because their bodies are not able to make insulin on their own,” he noted.

Early signs and symptoms can include tiredness and hunger, frequent urination, increased thirst, vision problems, slow wound healing, and yeast infections.

Guyana has over 400 health facilities – each of which is equipped to make diagnoses and handle diabetic cases.

“It is also important that the care that we provide is comprehensive because it is one thing to put a person who has been diagnosed on treatment. If they don’t attend to the other factors, then sometimes it’s difficult to control the blood sugar.”

Diabetes can also cause renal diseases, leading to kidney failure. In Guyana, more than 290 persons are on dialysis, stemming in most instances from diabetes.

The Minister contended, “If we manage the person’s blood sugar well, then we can prevent these complications from occurring. That is why it is so important if you have been diagnosed as having diabetes that you come and make sure you get treatment to prevent these complications from happening.”