With all the political drama in the US—Liz Warren, Kamala Harris, Howard Schultz…for President; Ocasio-Cortez’ understanding of economics; and the Trump-Pelosi bully dance—there is enough to write about until the next election. Against that backdrop, I am going to write about healthcare instead.
As someone with a very close relative suffering from type 2 diabetes, I have been steered towards thinking about something I would not have otherwise noticed. And, alas, I discovered that type 2 diabetes is a widespread ailment in the Filipino community.
Type 2 diabetes, otherwise known as hyperglycemia, is the most common form of diabetes and characterized by the body’s improper use of insulin. The body may acquire a resistance to insulin or the pancreas may cease production of insulin. People may be genetically disposed to type 2 diabetes and obesity and diet are factors in causing the disease. Perhaps the most alarming threat of type 2 diabetes is its long list of complications, including heart disease, nerve damage, kidney damage, hearing impairment, and increased risk of Alzheimers.
It may almost justify outlawing sugar.
A few weeks ago, I attended an investment conference where I met a company, Virta Health, that claims it can more than manage type 2 diabetes, it can reverse it. One of the differences between Virta and traditional healthcare is that it enables continuous medical supervision. Patients prick their own fingers but all that data is uploaded into an app and analyzed. And a patient’s diet and insulin recommendations can be monitored and modified dynamically. This is a great improvement over how treatment is done today where the patient makes a few doctors visits a year, blood is sent out to the lab for analysis, and, with a delay, the new results come out. Recommendations for diet and, more importantly, insulin doses are much more likely going to be a mismatch with the patient’s needs.
Virta is part of a branch of healthcare called telemedicine. While this approach may not be appropriate for all diseases, it may be for diabetes where the frequency of the feedback loop is more important than the precision of your scalpel. Moreover, if it is done remotely, then the patient can be located anywhere. That is another reason this solution is relevant to the Filipino community. All of a sudden, our loved ones can enjoy the comforts of the Philippines while not sacrificing on diabetic treatment.
Much is possible if Virta works. That is why I am meeting with the company on February 5 to learn more about it. I told them that I would bring a group of Filipino community members since diabetes is such an important issue in our community. If any of my readers is interested in joining us, please email me at [email protected] (I do not use this address much so it will be easy to monitor).
In any case, I will write about my meeting in next week’s column and continue to look for solutions like these to our unique problems.