Are you heading for diabetes?

Type 2 diabetes is the most common type of diabetes and usually occurs in adults, although prevalence in children and adolescents is increasing. The specialised “beta” cells in your pancreas are able to make insulin. However, they either make too little or your body can’t use the insulin effectively.
When there isn’t enough of this hormone in your body or it’s not used as it should be, sugar or “glucose” can’t be moved to your other body cells to supply them with energy. This means that you have higher than normal blood-glucose levels.

Visit your doctor if you’re experiencing some or all of the following symptoms:

Excessive thirst
Blurred vision
Excessive urination
Tiredness
Itching and skin infections
Constant hunger
Recurring bladder infections

HOW TO PREVENT AND MANAGE DIABETES

People at risk for Type 2 diabetes can delay and even prevent this condition by following a healthy lifestyle. This same lifestyle will keep your diabetes in check, if you’ve already been diagnosed. The good news is that diabetes can be managed successfully with a healthy lifestyle, sometimes with the addition of medication. You’ll feel better and have more energy!

Regular blood-glucose and cholesterol level checks (ask your doctor how often this should be done)
Managing your blood pressure (ask your doctor for advice)
Staying active (try to do a bit of exercise every day and aim for 30 minutes of exercise, five times a week)
Following a healthy diet (get a dietician to work out an eating plan for you)
Maintaining a healthy weight
Not smoking

AVOID COMPLICATIONS

If you don’t control your blood-glucose levels through lifestyle changes and medication, you risk diabetes-related health problems.

THESE INCLUDE:

  • Loss of vision
  • Damage to your kidneys
  • Damage to your nerves (e.g., numbness and a burning sensation in the hands, feet and legs)
  • Foot ulcers that heal slowly and become infected
  • Increased risk of other infections (e.g., bladder infections)
  • Sexual dysfunction (e.g., impotence)
  • Heart disease and stroke

AIM FOR

An ideal weight
(BMI <25kg/m2)
An ideal waist circumference
(Men: < 94cm; Women: < 80cm)
An HbA1C reading of < 7%
A blood pressure of
< 140/90 mmHg

 

How the Scheme’s Diabetes Management Programme can help

This programme helps members with diabetes better understand this long-term condition and empowers them to make the right decisions to stay healthy.

As most diabetics have at least one other chronic condition, the programme offers a personalised care plan to ensure that your specific needs are taken into account. The care plan will provide cover for the tests required for the management of diabetes as well as your other chronic conditions. It offers access to specialised diabetes doctors, dieticians, podiatrists and diabetic educators to allow you to effectively manage your diabetes.

In addition, you will have access to a dedicated Health Coach to answer any questions you may have, and you will also enjoy online assistance through HealthCloud.

HOW TO ACCESS THE PROGRAMME

For more information, or to register on this programme, call 0860 100 080 or email membercare@medscheme.co.za.

You may have noticed several news articles on ‘intermittent fasting’ in the last year or so, and wondered it was all about. The main idea behind intermittent fasting (also known simply as IF) is that our modern lifestyle of having access to food 24 hours per day, and often eating very frequently, may be contributing to lifestyle diseases such as obesity and diabetes. IF aims to give your body enough hours to work on ‘repairs’, rather than almost constantly having to work on digesting and storing what you eat. You can learn more about intermittent fasting and whether it may be an option for diabetics in this article that a dietician wrote for Diabetes South Africa.