WESTERN CAPE NEWS - Statistics released by Fedhealth, based on member statistics, indicate that Type-2 diabetes ranks second in terms of the authorised cost of chronic medication per annum, coming in second to hypertension which ranks first.
Figures show that the total annualised chronic medication costs for this disease category account for 11.4% of the schemes annual authorised cost.
"Although it is difficult to quantify the exact cost that the scheme incurs as a result of Type-2 diabetes, the average chronic medication cost per member per annum works out at approximately R3114. This could however be significantly higher taking into account that the disease predisposes members to a myriad of complications where members may for instance be admitted for a heart attack but the route cause is in fact 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 Peter Jordaan, principal officer of Fedhealth.
A total of 3.5% of Fedhealth's members have been diagnosed with Type 2 diabetes, which Jordaan says can be delayed or prevented in the majority of cases through proper nutrition and regular exercise.
"Intensive lifestyle changes can reduce the risk of developing the disease by up to half. Considering that of all Fedhealth's diabetic members, 94% 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," comments Jordaan.
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 builds up in the blood and this is referred to as hyperglycemia. Symptoms include excessive thirst, frequent urination, constant hunger and weight loss," adds Jordaan.
Of the members suffering from Type-2 diabetes, 55.3% are male and 44.7% are female, but according to Jordaan age also needs to be taken into consideration as there is a direct relationship between increased age and the prevalence of Type-2 Diabetes. "Sixty-years and older is the most affected age group which makes implementing lifestyle changes even more challenging as bad habits are deeply entrenched and are difficult to break.
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.
Jordaan 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. "However if blood glucose levels are not adequately lowered by these measures, oral medications may be needed and failing this, insulin will be necessary," he adds.
"With worldwide statistics indicating that Type-2 diabetes makes up 90% of all types of diabetes globally, it is a call to action for people to make a move towards adopting holistically healthier lifestyles before they too end up as part of this statistic," concludes Jordaan.