How Connected Health Supports People with Diabetes

December 21, 2020
Woman using phone and blood glucose meter to manage diabetes treatment

Diabetes is a prevalent, chronic disease that affects many Australians. Because it’s a lifetime disease, it requires life-long treatment and significant lifestyle changes. In this article, you’ll learn about how our Connected Health solutions can support your current diabetes management plan.

In this article:

  • Understanding Diabetes – key facts
  • Prevalence of diabetes in Australia
  • Importance of care in treating diabetes patients
  • Understanding Connected Health
  • How Connected Health supports diabetics

Understanding Diabetes – key facts

The World Health Organization (WHO) defines diabetes as a “chronic, metabolic disease characterised by elevated levels of blood glucose.” Diabetes often starts with the pancreas’ inability to produce or effectively use insulin. This hormone regulates the glucose in the blood.

Prolonged elevated blood glucose levels lead to severe and long-term damage to the body, including the heart, eyes, kidneys, and nerves.

There are two primary types of diabetes:

  • Type 1 Diabetes: This happens when the body produces little to no insulin, which requires patients to take daily insulin injections to keep blood glucose levels under control.
  • Type 2 Diabetes: This type of diabetes is the most common among adults. Those who have Type 2 diabetes can’t effectively use the insulin their pancreas produces, which makes it hard for their body to manage their blood sugar.

Both Type 1 and Type 2 diabetes can be triggered by your genes as the disease often runs in the family. So, if you have direct relatives who have diabetes, you’re more likely to develop the disease, too.

Apart from being a genetic disease, diabetes is also known as a lifestyle disease. Being overweight and/or living a sedentary lifestyle increases the chances of you developing it, whether you have the gene or not.

The WHO estimates that 422 million people all over the world have diabetes. The majority of those who have the disease are diagnosed with Type 2 diabetes, comprising 90% of all cases worldwide.

Prevalence of diabetes in Australia

Australia is not exempt from the prevalence of diabetes. Data recorded in the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS)  2017–18 National Health Survey revealed that 1.2 million Australians are diagnosed with diabetes. This number is expected to increase every year as Diabetes Australia notes that 280 Australians develop diabetes each day—that’s one person every five minutes.

The occurrence of diabetes in the population increases with age. The same ABS 2017–18 National Health Survey noted that diabetes cases rose steadily in the 75 and over age group. Trends also revealed that diabetes rates for those aged from 65–75 were as stark as three times as high compared to the rates observed among those aged 45–54 years. Diabetes was also more common among Australian males across all age groups.

Source: https://www.aihw.gov.au/reports/diabetes/diabetes/contents/how-many-australians-have-diabetes

This data clearly indicates that effective and efficient management of diabetes across the Australian population is required.

While diabetes does not directly lead to a person’s death, the health complications developed from having the disease are likely to be listed as an underlying or associated cause of death.

In fact, according to the Australian Institute of Health and Wellness (AIHW) 2018 National Mortality Database (NMD), complications due to diabetes contributed to about 16,700 deaths in 2018. Out of these cases, 28% and 72% were declared as the underlying and associated causes of death, respectively.

Diabetes complications can be classified into two types—acute and chronic.

Acute complications

Acute diabetes complications refer to those that are sudden and short-term. Examples of short-term complications are:

  • Hypoglycemia: also known as low blood sugar, which can make you feel dizzy and lightheaded
  • Hyperosmolar Hyperglycemic Nonketotic Syndrome (HHNS): another term for high blood sugar, that can make you feel excessively tired or thirsty

Chronic complications

Chronic complications are those that develop among people with diabetes over long periods, which is often prompted by long-term hypoglycemia. Chronic diabetes complications are those often mentioned as the underlying and associated cause of death among people with diabetes.

Among the most common chronic diabetes complications develop in these parts of the body:

  • Eyes: cataracts, glaucoma, vision loss
  • Heart: heart disease, stroke
  • Kidneys: kidney disease
  • Nerves: numbness, loss of feeling

Diabetes complications can indeed lead to severe and life-long health impacts and even death; however, it also highlights the importance of its treatment. As there remains no cure for it, Australian diabetics are advised to take proactive steps to manage and control the disease.

How Connected Health can help

If you or someone you know has diabetes, you’re no stranger to the constant blood sugar level, cholesterol, and blood pressure checks. That’s because monitoring and staying on top of your health is key to lifelong diabetes management.

Nowadays, the advent of technology has made many aspects of our lives easier, including health and social services. Modern-day technology has reshaped how people can access healthcare. Technological innovations in health delivery and monitoring systems have paved the way for Connected Health.

Connected Health combines medicine with information technology (IT); in a nutshell, Connected Health is healthcare that leverages on modern-day technology—devices, apps,  telehealth—to help you monitor your condition outside the hospital or doctor’s office.

Through Connected Health, your vitals are monitored, stored, and shared in real-time to your network of caregivers and health providers. This system helps ensure you receive the best and most efficient care wherever and whenever you need it.

How Connected Health supports people with diabetes

At Tunstall Healthcare, we believe that Connected Health is changing the healthcare system for the better. It is increasingly playing a more significant role in caring for patients with chronic conditions, including diabetics.

Here are the four ways Connected Health supports people with diabetes:

1. Provides consolidated care

If you or someone you love is living with diabetes, you’re probably no stranger to having to set and attend regular appointments with your doctor or endocrinologist.

With Connected Health, you no longer need to queue in hospitals and clinics to get the care you need, since you can actively manage your health from the comfort of your own home.

2. Improves diabetes treatment

Being able to monitor your blood sugar and vital signs are crucial to managing your diabetes. Our Connected Health solutions make doing these things easy, efficient, and accurate.

As your vitals are monitored in real-time, your doctors can remotely monitor your condition and advise you if it’s time to visit your GP. With advanced monitoring and timely medication, you’ll be able to manage your diabetes in the long run better.

3. Empowers patients

Through our Connected Health solutions, you can stay on top of your condition and treatment. For example, through our advanced monitoring, our system may help you to identify the things that trigger your blood sugar levels to spike or drop.

Connected Health empowers people living with diabetes to take control of their own care from the comfort of their own home with the reassurance that if any readings go beyond set limits, our clinical team is standing by to help.

4. Improves time and cost management

Because Connected Health helps lessen your physical trips to the doctor, you’ll have more time and money to spend on your hobbies, with your family and other things that make you happy.

Conclusion

Diabetes is a lifelong disease with management that requires time, care, and attention. Although there is no cure for diabetes yet, you can manage it by maintaining a healthy lifestyle—proper diet, regular exercise—and adequate healthcare.

Connected Health helps simplify diabetes management and puts control of care back in your hands. With our Connected Health solutions, you’ll be able to safely and efficiently consolidate your diabetes care needs right from the comfort of your home.

We work with leading health networks, clinical groups and health providers to improve the lives of people living with disabilities and chronic diseases like diabetes. Our Connected Health solutions help to streamline healthcare and empower both patients and care providers through modern healthcare management and support services. Contact us for more information on how our Connected Health solutions can transform your healthcare management today.