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May 29, 2022

Extensive investments have been made in health education programmes across South African communities to promote health and prevent conditions such as HIV/AIDS and Tuberculous (TB), just to name a few. However, the ‘silent killer’ that is predicted to become the leading cause of deaths in future is diabetes. 

Diabetes is a chronic, lifelong condition that affects your body’s ability to use the energy provided by food. Diabetes mellitus is a chronic disease where the pancreas either does not produce any or enough insulin, which causes an excess of sugar (glucose) in the blood. Insulin is the hormone that assists your body’s cells to use glucose as energy for it to function properly. 

There are two major types of diabetes, namely:

  1. Type 1 diabetes which occurs when blood sugar (glucose) levels are too high due to the body’s inability to produce the hormone insulin, which enables glucose to enter cells and fuel the body. It generally occurs in children and young adults and requires access to injectable insulin.
  2. Type 2 diabetes which is the most common type of diabetes, is a progressive condition whereby the body becomes resistant to the normal effects of insulin (insulin resistance) and/or gradually loses the capacity to produce enough insulin in the pancreas. 

To encourage a healthy lifestyle and reduce the health risks associated with this condition, we will be focusing on, Type 2 diabetes. 

As a condition that many may be unaware of, symptoms associated with Type 2 diabetes develop at a slow pace and may take several years to develop. Early-stage symptoms include: 

  • fatigue
  • pain, tingling, or numbness in your hands and feet 
  • constant hunger 
  • blurred vision

If undetected or not managed at an earlier stage, it can lead to severe symptoms such as:

  • kidney disease 
  • gum disease 
  • heart attack or stroke 
  • eye problems

The good news is that you can take preventative steps or delay the development of this type of diabetes by implementing the right measures in your lifestyle. These measures include:

  • Regular blood glucose levels checks
  • Integrating physical exercise into your daily routine which will assist in controlling blood glucose
  • Following a healthy diet which includes foods rich in fibre and healthy carbohydrates, for example fruits, vegetables, and whole grains. These foods assist in keeping your blood glucose levels steady
  • Quitting smoking 
  • Taking medication, if prescribed by a medical practitioner 

The Bestmed Diabetes care programme
The Bestmed Diabetes care programme, administered by HaloCare, focuses on actively managing members with diabetes while taking into consideration any associated diseases/disorders, e.g. high cholesterol, high blood pressure etc. The programme is designed to assist the diabetic member and their dependants to live a constructive and rewarding life.

Programme benefits

  • Automatic enrolment once registered as a diabetic by Bestmed, at no additional cost
  • Access to specialised doctors and pharmacy networks
  • Access to diabetes nurse educators and clinical case managers
  • Access to primary care diabetes consultations at any Dis-Chem Pharmacy Clinic, including: HbA1c blood tests, physical assessment, counselling, education, and referrals
  • Emergency after-hours support
  • Educating members about living with diabetes
  • Empowering members to understand their condition and latest treatment norms better
  • Providing specialist assistance and advice to members’ treating family practitioner

For more information on the diabetes care programme and benefits, visit: Bestmed | Benefits and cover | Diabetes

Bestmed Tempo wellness programme

As a member you can become the change you want with our Bestmed Tempo wellness programme, which supports you in improving your health by providing you with access to the Bestmed Tempo Health Assessment at any of the Scheme’s network pharmacies (Dis-Chem, Clicks, Van Heerden, Alpha Pharm). The assessment includes one of each of the following per adult beneficiary (16 years and above):

  • Bestmed Tempo lifestyle questionnaire
  • Blood pressure check
  • Cholesterol check
  • Glucose check
  • Height, weight and waist circumference check

You can access more information on these benefits by visiting: https://www.bestmed.co.za/tempo-wellness/tempo-wellness-programme 

Understanding Type 2 Diabetes | Healthline 
What is Diabetes? | Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
Diabetes: An Overview | Cleveland Clinic
Most South Africans do not know they have diabetes | Health E-News
Bestmed Medical Scheme | Diabetes Care 

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