Now is the time for lifestyle changes – reduce your chances of Type 2 diabetes

Did you know that according to worldwide statistics 90% of people living with diabetes have Type 2 diabetes? Type 2 diabetes is a metabolic disorder that is characterised by high blood glucose in the context of insulin resistance and relative insulin deficiency. “The good news is that by adopting holistically healthier lifestyles, we can significantly reduce the chances of getting Type 2 diabetes and through exercise and dietary modifications, Type 2 diabetes can be managed without the need for medications,” says Peter Jordan, Principal Officer of Fedhealth.

Statistics released by Fedhealth indicate that 3.9% of its beneficiaries suffer from this condition, pegging it consistently as one of the top 10 chronic conditions by frequency for the scheme, with the trend expected to continue for the 2014 benefit year. It also ranks highly in terms of the top 10 conditions by medicine cost per annum. Figures show that the percentage of Diabetes medicine & appliances/surgicals cost is 5% of total Acute, Chronic and PAT medicine cost for Fedhealth for YTD 2013.

“Although it is difficult to quantify the exact cost that the scheme incurs as a result of diabetes, chronic medication only accounts for a small portion of these costs, which could be significantly higher taking into account that the disease predisposes patients to a myriad of complications where patients may, for instance, be admitted for a heart attack but the root cause is the underlying diabetes. The disease is therefore often seen as a co-morbid one in that it results in a number of high cost admissions,” says Jordan.

A total of 3.8% of Fedhealth’s beneficiaries have been diagnosed with Type 2 diabetes. “Intensive lifestyle changes can reduce the risk of developing the disease by up to half. Considering that of all Fedhealth’s diabetic patients, 94.3% of these have Type-2 diabetes, it is important that members take-on the responsibility of implementing healthier lifestyle choices to avoid further complications such as heart disease, stroke, and kidney failure.”

Non-Insulin dependent or Type 2 diabetes results in the fat, liver and muscle cells not responding correctly to insulin. This is referred to as insulin resistance, and as a result blood sugar is unable to penetrate the cells to be stored for energy. “When sugar cannot enter cells, high levels of sugar build up in the blood and this is referred to as hyperglycemia. Symptoms include excessive thirst, frequent urination, constant hunger and weight loss,” adds Jordan.

Of the Fedhealth members suffering from Type-2 diabetes, 55.6% are male and 44.4% are female, but according to Jordan age also needs to be taken into consideration as there is a direct relationship between increased age and the prevalence of Type-2 Diabetes.

“However, when the individual health risks and cost to members are weighed up, members see how committing to making the few necessary changes can put them back on the path to good health,” he says

Jordan says lifestyle interventions such as maintaining your ideal weight, regular exercise, a healthy diet and regular blood glucose checks will do much to prevent the disease or manage it effectively for those who have already been diagnosed. “The new year is just around the corner and may be the opportune time to set goals for health improvements. By getting active and eating right, you can significantly reduce your chances of becoming a Type-2 diabetes statistic,” he concludes.

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