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Falklands hit by a 30% increase in diabetes diagnoses in the last five years

The King Edward VII Memorial Hospital is looking into why.

Almost five per cent of the Falklands population has a form of diabetes.

Chief Medical Officer Dr Rebecca Edwards OBE hypothesised the increase “may be because they are better at recording diabetics however, they have seen that certain groups are more susceptible.”

She said currently a focus is on supporting those groups “making sure it is detected early and helping with sugar control”.

The hospital is trying to secure a supply of Continuous Glucose Monitors (CMG) and Dr Edwards said: “we recognize it’s the next step in good control for your diabetes, but it’s not as easy as you would think. As usual, you have to have an app or a machine that sits outside the app, and the manufacturers, at the moment, we’re in negotiations with them about whether or not they will agree to send a supply to the Falklands on a consistent basis”.

Because of this, the KEMH cannot freely issue these monitors to everyone but are working hard to secure the supply chain.

Dr Edwards continued one or two people have been issued with CMGs in the UK and are continuing to use them here.

“That is sort of working well and I say sort of because we’re anxious that we don’t have a secure supply chain yet”.

One of the people given a CMG is type 1 diabetic Kristy Buckland.

When in the UK having her most recent child, she was given a glucose monitoring system which connected to her phone. It sends updates if her blood sugars are going too high or too low.

The device allows her to see in real time what her blood sugars are doing. She noted the affordability of low fat, low carb foods in the UK and the difficulty coming back to the Falklands and being able to see how badly the high cost of food affected her diet.

With help from the continuous glucose monitor she has been able to get her levels back on track but with the increases in the price of food it’s very difficult.

Kristy said “the glucose monitoring system made it a lot easier to understand and control my diabetes, which for the last probably 16 years have not been that well controlled”.

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