Diabetes management: What employers need to know

5 myths of diabetes managment

Diabetes is a growing issue that threatens the health of millions of Americans. And the number continues to grow. With over 11% of the population diagnosed with diabetes, it makes sense that employers want to provide benefits that will make a positive impact for their people.

Unfortunately, misunderstandings about diabetes management can delay and even deter progress for those living with the disease.

In addition to the 11% of Americans living with diabetes, 38% of the adult population has prediabetes. An additional 1.4 million Americans get diagnosed with diabetes every year.

The challenge is finding the right solution to fit all their needs. 

When employers understand diabetes management, they become strong advocates for their employees and see meaningful results.

Myth #1: Can’t you just reverse type 2 diabetes?

Though type 2 diabetes has become known as the “reversible” subtype of the disease, the “cure” is not so straightforward.

In fact, the truth is you can’t reverse type 2 diabetes.

Diabetes is a highly complex disease that affects how the body regulates and uses sugar for energy. Type 2 diabetes causes physiological damage at a cellular level.

People can make lifestyle changes like diet and exercise early in a diagnosis to help stop the progress of the disease and diminish symptoms; however, it can’t make up for beta-cell loss.

Additionally, once someone has type 2 diabetes, they are more susceptible to developing high blood sugar and other diabetic symptoms. This is why diabetes is considered a chronic condition.

What’s more the American Diabetes Association has explicitly said they prefer the term “remission” to “reversal.” Remission more accurately describes what’s possible for a person diagnosed with diabetes, as the condition can’t be eradicated and still requires conscious management.

When a diabetes management solution promises “reversal,” they’re swerving away from the consensus of the medical community.

Myth #2: Diabetes can be managed through diet alone

Though diet plays an important role in diabetes management, it isn’t a silver bullet.

Some diabetes solutions make an extreme diet the focus of their entire program, but studies show that restrictive diets struggle to produce successful results for longer than 12 months.

Such a diet may work for a small group, but it’s not a viable solution for the majority of people living with diabetes. Most will need to regularly exercise in addition to changing their eating habits and many will need medication for at least a period of time. All will benefit from coordinated physical and mental health support.

When you choose a solution that takes a whole health approach, you can treat the disease from all angles. Employers offering a well-rounded program will ensure better results for a larger population.

Myth #3: Diabetes is only a physical health condition

Diabetes results in irreversible physiological effects that can’t be denied. However, diabetes affects more than a person’s physical health. It’s important to know how living with diabetes influences other areas of health.

Diabetes and depression are closely linked, studies show. Those living with diabetes are 2 to 3 times more likely to develop depression. 

Many doctors recommend treating diabetes and depression together to help improve metabolic control and promote weight loss. Diabetes management is more than a physical health plan or remote patient monitoring through a single glucose meter.

While some solutions have begun to integrate mental healthcare into their diabetes management programs, the member care journey remains disjointed for many. For example, some programs expect patients to navigate multiple apps for interrelated conditions. This is an unrealistic, but also unhelpful, expectation for people already navigating complications of care.

That’s why finding a solution that has designed its program with integrated physical and mental healthcare can be so much more impactful. And when it comes to employee health and satisfaction, it’s not worth the risk of a lackluster solution.

Myth #4: Diabetes management comes down to a formula

With over 37 million Americans diagnosed with the disease, it’s just not practical to rely on a one-size-fits-all approach to care.

This myth of diabetes management can be dangerous, because personalized care is essential for treating diabetes. Extreme diets and simple remote monitoring won’t create meaningful changes for those struggling with comorbidities.

Additionally, narrowly defined formulas also don’t work for employers who are continually striving to be more equitable and inclusive with their benefits. Cultural understanding and lifestyle sensitivity are essential for diverse populations to feel valued and empowered.

Restrictive diets, like the keto diet, don’t easily incorporate into all ethnic food traditions. Employers need to also consider personal motivators and social determinants of health. That’s why a solution that personalizes care plans will boost results for your workforce.

At Vida, we’re proud to be an all-in-one solution that isn’t one-size-fits-all. Because we know that an individualized, comprehensive program can still be inclusive, specific, and intentional.

Myth #5: The goal of diabetes management should be total remission

Though diabetes reversal is a myth, remission can actually be an achievable feat for many living with diabetes. However, it isn’t a realistic goal for everyone, especially those living with comorbidities.

Remission, qualified as a person’s A1C of lower than 6.5 for at least six months, can require unreasonable practices for many who suffer from multiple conditions. The “perfect” goal of  remission can get in the way of meaningful progress.

With older populations struggling more acutely from diabetes, employers must take necessary steps to mitigate consequences and reduce health costs.

Severely-affected diabetes patients need providers who can individualize A1C goals that appropriately match their unique situation. A flexible solution can support members with a full stack of specialized caregivers and behavioral strategies that will help them face the challenges that come with a chronic condition.

How Vida partners in diabetes management

A whole health solution is a valuable play in a larger strategy of healthier populations.

We understand that your workforce is made up of diverse individuals with unique needs and challenges. 

That’s why we designed our program from the ground up to treat body and mind together. We surround our members with health coaches, diabetes educators, registered dietitians, and therapists. Benefits include nearly round-the-clock care through video conferencing, text, and educational resources.

We prioritize our member-provider relationships and build trust with every encounter. Our providers strive to meet members where they are and collaborate with their care team for greatest impact.

This unique program design results in highly satisfied members — 95% of participants report feeling a strong relationship with their primary care team provider. To best serve diverse populations, we offer our solution in English and Spanish, with an average NPS of 80 for English-speaking users and 87 for Spanish-speaking users.

Diabetes management myths can cause large set-backs in your mission to address employee health and improve outcomes. But by partnering with Vida, you can place your trust in our human providers and easy-to-use, seamless app experience to make a profound difference in the lives of your people.

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