Argus offers diabetes reversal programme
The Argus Group is offering a new programme to reverse type 2 diabetes and reduce the prevalence of the disease in Bermuda.
The local insurer has partnered with diabetes specialist David Cavan and Stanley James, of Premier Health & Wellness Centre, to provide the 12-month Diabetes Reversal Programme to its clients for free.
And the programme is already showing signs of success with five of the first nine patients able to stop taking their diabetes medication and three able to come off their high blood pressure medication.
“Until recently, it was believed that once you develop type 2 diabetes, it is a condition that you have for the rest of your life, and one that will likely just get worse and worse,” Dr Cavan said.
“The good news is we now know that that is not the case. Just as unhealthy lifestyles lead to the development of type two diabetes, we now know that switching to a healthier lifestyle, such as that led by our parents or grandparents, can reverse type 2 diabetes.”
According to Dr Cavan, Bermuda has one of the highest rates of type 2 diabetes in the Western world — affecting more than 13 per cent of the island's adult population.
But he stressed that the lifestyle changes to reverse the condition “are not rocket science” and do not require special diets, supplements or medication.
“Just a focus on being more active and on eating natural fresh food while minimising sugars and starches.”
The programme includes an initial consultation with Dr Cavan, a six-week lifestyle management course, lifestyle group updates, follow-ups with the diabetes specialist, and a final assessment to determine the success of the programme.
According to Dr Cavan, the nine people who attended the first course lost an average of seven pounds, two inches off their waist and their diabetes control improved “significantly”.
“After just four weeks, four are already on course to reverse their diabetes completely. Every single person reduced their diabetes medication and five stopped it completely.”
With some also coming off blood pressure medications, Dr Cavan added that the programme had reduced the total drug bill for the group by more than $10,000 per year.
“It is still early days but we are extremely encouraged by these results. They send out a clear message of hope to people across the island that type 2 diabetes does not have to be a lifelong condition, and that the devastating complications it can bring can be avoided.”
Dr James, who approached Dr Cavan about the possibility of creating such an initiative last year, said being able to provide the programme in a professional manner was “a dream come true”.
“It was a leap of faith. But to our delight our dream aligned perfectly with the core values of Argus Insurance who worked with us and made a tangible commitment to ensure the fulfilment of this dream.”
According to Argus CEO Alison Hill, the programme “has been endorsed by the Bermuda Diabetes Association and Argus are proud to be the first insurer on the island to offer this programme free of charge to our clients”.
“Type 2 diabetes is a chronic issue in Bermuda and is therefore a high priority for our wellness and prevention strategy. In 2015, it was estimated that 6,700 people on the island had type 2 diabetes. Argus aims to be a pioneer in affecting change to improve the lives of residents in Bermuda and we're delighted to be part of this programme that is already showing real signs of success.”
Michelle Jackson, the executive vice president of Group Insurance, added: “It is a significant step in our ongoing efforts to reduce the occurrence of type 2 diabetes on the island. Individuals will benefit by improving their eating habits, increasing physical activity in their daily routine, achieving an overall feeling or wellbeing and hopefully lowering blood glucose levels and reducing medication.”
• For more information, contact the Premier Health & Wellness Centre on 292-5111 or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org
While both type 1 and type 2 diabetes are characterised by having higher than normal blood sugar levels, the cause and development of the conditions are different.
Type 1 diabetes is an autoimmune disease. The immune system attacks and destroys the insulin-producing beta cells in the pancreas. Type 1 diabetes is usually diagnosed in children and young adults, although it can appear at any age. People with type 1 diabetes need to take insulin every day to stay alive.
Type 2 diabetes, meanwhile, is insulin resistance, meaning the body does not make or use insulin well. The body compensates by producing more insulin, but it can’t always produce enough. Over time, the strain placed on the beta cells can destroy them. People with type 2 diabetes may need to take insulin because they have low sensitivity to insulin or beta cell failure.
Type 2 diabetes can appear at any age, even during childhood. However, it most often occurs in middle-aged and older people and is the most common type of diabetes. Risk factors include being over the age of 45, having a family history or diabetes or being overweight. Physical inactivity, race, and certain health problems such as high blood pressure also increase chances of developing type 2 diabetes.
Information via www.diabetes.co.uk, the United States’ Centres for Disease Control and Prevention, and the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases.