If you are reading this column (possibly over breakfast at Kuya’s or Rene’s Café), you probably know someone who is suffering from type 2 diabetes. This is a disease that is an epidemic in the Filipino community. It results in an unpleasant demise. And, throughout the demise, the insulin costs aren’t too pleasant either. So when a company claims that they can reverse it, I think we should take note and at least hear what they have to say.
Enter Virta Health. They have clinical studies that affirm their claim that they can reverse type 2 diabetes. This is defined as lowering blood sugar levels known as A1C below the diabetic threshold of 6.5 as well as eliminating a patient’s need to take diabetic medicine. Aside from the benefit of health, the out of pocket costs of insulin—think $350 per vial–can eclipse the cost of Virta Health’s nutrition therapy (depending on your situation). In addition, diabetes imposes a range of derivative consequences to a patient’s health and the system that supports it—reduced mobility, blindness, amputations, and other diseases.
Virta Health is a telemedical company that helps patients manage nutrition and diabetic medicine. One of the fundamental principles behind Virta’s nutrition therapy is the reduction of carbohydrate intake. Another is the dynamic management of insulin dosage. This is an important point. Instead of visiting a doctor once every six months, receiving an insulin prescription, and self-administering insulin, Virta Health will monitor a patient’s blood sugar continuously and advise you in real time when to take insulin and how much to take. This way, insulin intake is not overdone and, ultimately, it is reduced over time.
Currently, Virta is selling through self-insured companies and health plans. The program is also available to the general public through its website. The cost may be prohibitive to some prospective patients. There is an option to apply for a reduced fee, depending on a patient’s income.
While the nutrition program does not depend on an external service provider to implement, I see a lot of value in monitoring blood sugar levels to provide patient feedback in real time on insulin dosage. Micromanaging insulin levels may indeed be a reasonable way to achieve insulin independence.
Through my involvement with one of two chapters of the Rotary Club, The Rotary Club of Daly City and Colma or the newly formed Rotary Club of the San Francisco Bay Area, I plan to further Virta Health’s acquaintance with the Filipino community.
Not only is Virta Health promising for diabetics in our community, telemedicine is generally promising for those looking to move back to the Philippines and are worried about receiving the same level of medical care. Virta plans to roll out solutions for caring for patients with other diseases. Telemedicine may be a platform for making the Philippines the retirement holy grail that it should be.
Please stay tuned for more information on diabetes, Virta Health, and when our community will be hosting these types of service providers. In the meantime, has anyone ever tried cauliflower rice?