Bermuda Sun News ... Beyond the Headlines

Friday, November 25, 2011

Matters in Healthcare: What are the costs of having diabetes?

Friday, November 25, 2011

Staying healthy: Medication and doctors visits could cost a diabetic up to $10k a year. *MCT photo

FRIDAY, NOVEMBER 25: Did you know that one in four Bermudians live with type 2 diabetes? Do you know what type 2 diabetes is? Well, November is Diabetes Month around the world, but why does this matter to Bermuda and who is doing anything about it?

Well this week, in honour of the hard work the Bermuda Diabetes Association does to raise awareness, the Bermuda Health Council spoke to the Association’s executive director, Kuni Frith-Black and here is what we asked:


Question:  What is the purpose/role of the Bermuda Diabetes Association?

Answer: The role of the Bermuda Diabetes Association is to lead the Bermuda community to reduce the prevalence of diabetes and improve the lives of those affected.


Question:  What type of diabetes is most common in Bermuda  and what is the difference between Type 1 and Type 2 diabetes?   

Answer: Bermuda’s toughest health challenge is Type 2 diabetes. Presently, there are one in four Bermudians living with or at risk for Type 2 diabetes.  There are approximately 120 persons living with Type 1 diabetes on the island.

Both types of diabetes have to do with insulin, a hormone that allows glucose to enter the body. This is central to regulating carbohydrate and fat metabolism in the body

Type 2 diabetes is characterized by insulin resistance and relative insulin deficiency, either of which may be present at the time that diabetes becomes clinically manifested. Type 2 diabetes can remain undetected for many years and the diagnosis is often made from associated complications or incidentally through an abnormal blood or urine glucose test.

Type 1 diabetes is caused by an auto-immune reaction when the body’s defence system attacks the insulin producing cells.  The beta cells of the pancreas produce little or no insulin.


Question:  Why is diabetes such a concern for Bermuda’s healthcare system?

Answer:  Type 2 diabetes has become a major health concern for Bermuda’s health care system because of the medical costs associated with hospitalization, doctor’s visits, medications, educational programmes, financial assistance programmes, support programmes, higher insurance premiums, loss of earnings and reduced overall quality of life for people living with diabetes. 

The end result is that the burden of Type 2 diabetes is imposed on all sectors of our community


Question:  What are some of the financial and physical costs that diabetes can have on someone with the disease?

Answer:  The average costs to maintain a Type 2 person living with diabetes for medications and doctor’s visits is in the range of $7,000.00 - $10,000.00 per year.

So take charge of your health, before it takes charge of you. Contact the Bermuda Diabetes Association if you would like more information at: 236-3668 or

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