Diabetes support group finds strength in numbers

Diabetes support group finds strength in numbersGwen Nyathi meets monthly with 24 Diabetic patients to discuss how best to manage their illness.

This National Diabetes Month, we visit a diabetes support group that meets monthly to talk, learn and help each other to live with Diabetes.

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Gwen Nyathi meets monthly with 24 Diabetic patients to discuss how best to manage their illness.
Gwen Nyati meets monthly with 24 Diabetic patients to discuss how best to maintain steady sugar levels. Nyati suggests avoiding sugary drinks and replacing them with water.

Diabetes is a complicated disease to manage, and the consequences of not adhering to treatment and not taking certain precautions can be devastating – with many patients at risk of losing their eyesight or losing a limb to amputation.

These 24 patients who meet at the Nokuthela Ngwenya Community Health Centre in Nigel, East of Johannesburg, learn helpful lessons about dietary changes they should implement and how best to manage their Diabetes.

Playing a large role in maintaining their health is Health Promoter, Gwen Nyati, who leads the group.

“Eating puts glucose into your blood. If you have diabetes you must be careful about what you eat, how much you eat and when you eat,” explained Nyati during a diet education session.

Elaine Mokoena who has been diabetic for 17 years has implemented some of Nyati’s lessons in her day-to-day life. Education around how much sugar is in sugary drinks has changed the way Elaine now approaches drinking juice.

“I take half then I put lots of water, then I drink it…because I don’t want to put lots of sugar into my blood system,” said Mokoena.

Nyati teaches the patients about a balanced diet and encourages them to cut out sugary drinks in favour of clean, safe drinking water.

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