By anguillian July 3, 2017 13:57




A Grenadian physician, residing and working in the United States, Dr Dwight Matthias, now on a Caribbean lecture tour, has advised persons in Anguilla about the importance of keeping their glucose levels under control to avoid a number of health hazards.

Dr. Dwight Matthias lecturing Anguillians

Brought in by the Anguilla Diabetes Association, Dr. Matthias met with a large number of persons at the Church of God (Holiness) on the Queen Elizabeth Avenue on Monday evening, June 26.
“Any time your sugar goes up, insulin has to come in and bring it down because too much creates problems,” he advised. “If the sugar remains high, for a substantial period of time, it destroys our eyes, our kidneys and nerves etc. So the sugar rises and the pancreas comes into action and releases insulin – and the insulin function is to take the excess sugar and send it to the fat cells and the muscles, and it also tells the liver to stop making sugar. When you are becoming diabetic, the insulin production is not what it used to be. It is less so the sugar remains high in the blood. To get rid of sugar in the blood, you need insulin. You cannot get rid of it in the blood without insulin. Think about it.”

Apart from being manufactured in the body, insulin is also an injectable medical treatment against diabetes.
Dr. Matthis continued: “How many of you who are diabetic are on pills? How many of you have your haemoglobin AIC over 8.5? If you are diabetic, you should get that measured every 3 or 6 months. If your AIC is less than 7, you should get it measured every 6 months. If it is greater than 7, you need it every 3 months to know how things are going.

“The AIC is a marker that we use to determine how well you are doing. A high AIC is indicative of kidney failure; it is indicative of amputation of your lower extremities; it is indicative of you getting blind. In other words, you are a sweet individual. Your sugar is high and it is very important that you monitor yourself. You can’t be a diabetic taking pills and not knowing what your blood sugar is throughout the day.”

Speaking separately to The Anguillian, the visiting physician and voluntary lecturer commented on the rising in the number of diabetes cases. “The rise is because of a lack of education, early recognition and prevention of the disease,” he explained. “If there are lifestyle changes, you have a chance of decreasing the incidence of diabetes. But there is a lot of myth about diabetes in our culture, and individuals may assume that if they have diabetes, it should be a quiet thing and they should not seek help from the local physicians and nurses on how to curb it.

“First, we should understand what diabetes is. If you ask anyone with diabetes what it is about, they will say sugar. Enough of that: We have to get to the root of the issue and discuss what that sugar is. Our diet plays a very important role. Here in the Caribbean, lots of our energy comes from starches – the breadfruit, provisions, Johnny cakes and bananas. All that gives us high sugar; but are we active enough to use that sugar up? No. As a result of eating all the carbs we put on weight and when we do so, we put stress on our pancreas and it will not produce enough insulin against diabetes. As we put on weight, the incidence of diabetes rises.

“We need sugar to give us energy. I need sugar to speak to you and you need it to listen to me; but too much sugar is very toxic to the body. It damages the eyes; it damages the limbs; it damages the kidneys; and it compounds heart attack and stroke. That rise is a result of our people not understanding the root of the cause.”

Dr. Matthias added: “I have been here in Anguilla and haven’t seen a lot of people walking to burn up the energy. The majority want to sit all day in an office building or wherever. We are eating all the starches and sugars but we are not burning them up. That’s an issue. Exercise is a key. Be active at least 30 minutes every day and decrease your carbohydrates intake. Anything that tastes good be careful of it.”

The Grenadian physician, who practices in Virginia, is an Endocrinologist (one who manages diabetes and thyroid issues). He did his studies at the University of Buffalo, St. Georges University and Stanford University. He subsequently served on the faculty of Eastern Virginia Medical School as an Assistant Professor of Internal Medicine for four years. After that, he went into private practice and has been there for 14 years. “I do a lot in diabetes because it is a rampant disease not only in the United States, but globally and here in the Caribbean. In at least every island, 10-15% of the population have diabetes,” he estimated.

By anguillian July 3, 2017 13:57


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