Caring for Employees and Dependents with Diabetes
Norton Healthcare is pleased to introduce Rx for Better Health, a new benefit program designed to improve the health of employees who have chronic conditions and are covered by one of Norton Healthcare’s employee health insurance plans. This program initially will focus on employees and their covered family members 18 years old or older who are managing diabetes. At a later date, the program will expand to include other chronic conditions.
Participation is voluntary, and those participating will actively engage in an educational/health monitoring program and work with specially trained pharmacists to learn how to manage their diabetes. The goal of Rx for Better Health is to help participants maintain or improve their health while reducing the risk for complications of diabetes.
As an incentive, Norton Healthcare will offer reduced co-pays on diabetes prescriptions and testing supplies (test strips, syringes, lancets, glucometers, etc.) to Rx for Better Health participants. In addition to the cost savings, program participants will benefit from health care services provided by a specially trained pharmacist. Norton Healthcare is pleased to be able to offer participants this innovative program to improve their health.
What is diabetes?
Diabetes is a disease in which blood sugar levels are above normal. People with diabetes have trouble converting food to energy. After a meal, food is broken down into a sugar called glucose, which is carried by the blood to cells throughout the body. Cells use insulin, a hormone made in the pancreas, to help them convert blood glucose into energy.
People develop diabetes because the pancreas does not make enough insulin or because the cells in the muscles, liver and fat do not use insulin properly, or both. As a result, the amount of sugar in the blood increases while the cells are starved of energy.
Why is managing your diabetes important?
Too much sugar in the blood for a long time can cause complications for individuals with diabetes. This high blood sugar, also called hyperglycemia, damages nerves and blood vessels. If not controlled, diabetes can lead to heart disease, stroke, kidney disease, blindness, nerve conditions, gum infections and even amputation. It is very important that you manage your diabetes to avoid these permanent complications.
Caring for employees and dependents with diabetes
- The American Diabetes Association reports that individuals with diabetes have heart disease death rates that are two to four times higher than individuals without diabetes.
- In addition to causing heart problems, diabetes is the leading cause of blindness in the United States. The most recent estimates show that 4.2 million Americans have some degree of vision loss as a result of diabetes.
- Nearly half of all new cases of kidney failure are a result of uncontrolled diabetes.
- After years of elevated blood sugars, nerve damage will become more severe, causing numbness in the hands and feet. In 2006, more than 65,000 amputations were due to uncontrolled diabetes.
While the statistics are alarming, the good news is that these complications can be prevented with appropriate management
You can do a lot to prevent or slow complications of diabetes
Lifestyle changes and sometimes medications will work to prevent worsening of the disease. Keeping your blood sugar levels within a safe range can help prevent complications.
Regular visits with the Rx for Better Health pharmacist can help you better understand how to treat diabetes so that you are more successful in managing the disease.