Diabetes is a chronic condition that affects your body’s ability to process and use glucose (a type of sugar) in your blood properly for energy for your cells. If not controlled, it may lead to excess glucose in your blood, which could lead to serious health issues.
There are different types of diabetes:
Diabetes and COVID-19
Diabetes doesn’t increase your likelihood of contracting COVID-19, but it may lead to a severe infection if you do contract the virus. This is because high blood glucose levels suppress your immune system, which allows a virus to multiply. In turn, glucose levels may increase when an infection causes a stress response in your body, which worsens the infection.
Diabetes management and treatment
It’s important to eat a healthy diet and exercise regularly to maintain a healthy weight. This is important to help prevent or manage any type of diabetes.
When you’ve completed your free Health Assessment with Bestmed Medical Scheme, you unlock access to free wellness journeys with a Bestmed Tempo biokineticist and Bestmed Tempo dietitian, who will personalise fitness and nutrition plans for you.
If you’re diagnosed with diabetes mellitus type 1 or type 2, you need to monitor your glucose levels regularly. If you receive insulin therapy, you need to monitor your glucose levels more frequently than those who don’t. You could choose to use a glucose metre, or continuous glucose monitor. Bestmed offers Continuous/Flash Glucose Monitoring benefits on Pace3 and Pace4.
You may be prescribed oral or injected medications to help manage your diabetes. Some medications help to stimulate your pancreas to produce and release insulin, while others inhibit your liver to produce and release glucose. There are also some medications that stop your stomach or intestinal enzymes from breaking down carbohydrates or making your tissues sensitive to insulin. Some medications also help to prevent your kidneys to excrete and not reabsorb glucose into your blood.
There are many types of insulin available, including:
If you’re diagnosed with diabetes mellitus type 1, you will need to inject yourself with insulin or use an insulin pump. Many, but not all, who have type 2 or gestational diabetes need insulin therapy.
An effective way to manage your glucose levels, if you have type 1 diabetes, is carbohydrate counting. This means that you can match your insulin dose to the amount of carbs you eat and drink.
You will need to go for an HbA1c blood test every two to three months, depending on your doctor’s recommendation. It monitors your glucose levels and gives you a more accurate indication of the success of your treatment plan, which may be adjusted depending on your test results.
Bestmed Diabetes care programme
Diabetes insipidus, diabetes mellitus type 1 and diabetes mellitus type 2 are Chronic Disease List conditions for which medical schemes must cover the diagnosis, medical management and medicines as published by the Council for Medical Schemes.
Besides the above, the Bestmed Diabetes care programme helps diabetic beneficiaries to live their best lives. HaloCare administers this manged care programme, which co-ordinates different role players in diabetes disease management to achieve the best health outcomes for patients.
Programme benefits include:
Bestmed Medical Scheme. 2021. Diabetes. Available [Online]: https://www.bestmed.co.za/benefits-and-cover/diabetes. [Accessed: 14 October 2021].
Cleveland Clinic. 2021. Diabetes: An overview. Available [Online]: https://my.clevelandclinic.org/health/diseases/7104-diabetes-mellitus-an-overview. [Accessed: 14 October 2021].
Diabetes UK. n.d. Learn about carb counting. Available [Online]: https://www.diabetes.org.uk/guide-to-diabetes/enjoy-food/carbohydrates-and-diabetes/nuts-and-bolts-of-carb-counting/learn-about-carb-counting#:~:text=If%20you're%20living%20with,carbohydrate%20you%20eat%20and%20drink. [Accessed: 18 October 2021].
Mayo Clinic. 2021. Diabetes: Diagnosis & Treatment. Available [Online]: https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/diabetes/diagnosis-treatment/drc-20371451. [Accessed: 14 October 2021].
Mayo Clinic. 2021. Diabetes: Symptoms & Causes. Available [Online]: https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/diabetes/symptoms-causes/syc-20371444. [Accessed: 15 October 2021].
Murphy, A. (Dr). 2020. COVID-19 and diabetes. Diabetes South Africa. Available [Online]: https://www.diabetessa.org.za/covid-19-and-diabetes/. [Accessed: 18 October 2021]