The Hidden Battle: Diabetes Among Bermuda's Population
The Hidden Battle: Diabetes Among Bermuda’s Population

Diabetes, often dubbed “the silent killer,” continues to spread its reach across the globe, and the picturesque island of Bermuda is no exception. 

While most are familiar with diabetes and its implications, many are unaware of its status as a health crisis. It has taken the lives of many Bermudians and continues to impair more as we speak.

Our team at Premier Health and Wellness Center wants to raise awareness about the impact of diabetes in Bermuda and provide actionable insights and solutions to combat this growing problem.


Statistics and Current Situation in Bermuda

Bermuda, with a population of approximately 64,000, faces a critical situation with diabetes. Approximately one in every eight adults aged 20 to 79 suffers from the disease, resulting in a prevalence rate of 13%. 

This rate is among the highest among Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) countries. Bermuda’s diabetes prevalence notably exceeds that of all OECD countries, with rates more than twice the average.

1. Demographic Impact

Diabetes in Bermuda affects various demographics, but certain groups are more susceptible:

  • Older adults (45 years and above) are disproportionately affected, mirroring global trends where the incidence of diabetes increases with age. 
  • The African Bermudian population has a higher prevalence rate than other ethnic groups. 
  • Citizens in lower socioeconomic groups tend to have higher rates of Type 2 diabetes, often linked to issues such as access to areas for physical activity, healthy food choices, and healthcare services. 
  • Individuals who are obese are more likely to get Type 2 diabetes. Bermuda ranks fourth highest in obesity rates, with 24% of its adult population being obese, which is higher than the OECD average of 18%.

2. Health Impact

Chronic non-communicable conditions were the leading cause of mortality in Bermuda. Endocrine, nutritional, and metabolic diseases, where diabetes belongs, contributed to 8% of deaths in 2020–2021. The condition also exacerbates other health issues, leading to a high mortality rate. 

Diabetes is a major contributor to kidney failure, non-traumatic lower-limb amputations, and blindness among adults in Bermuda. It also raises the risk of heart disease and stroke among affected citizens. A study across 30 countries with high diabetes rates found that Bermuda has the highest amputation rate for women, at 46 per 100,000, and the second highest for men, at 43 per 100,000. These figures far exceed the average rate of 15 per 100,000 observed across the surveyed nations. 

3. Economic Burden         

  • Diabetes-related health issues can lead to reduced workforce participation, lower productivity, and increased disability claims.
  • The cost of treating diabetes and its complications is substantial, including hospital stays, treatments for associated conditions, and ongoing medications. Data from the Government of Bermuda showed that chronic non-communicable diseases, such as diabetes, contributed to around 10% of insurance claim costs. (Chief Medical Officer’s Annual Report 2023, Pg. 15, Fig.5)

4. Initiatives and Response

In response to the diabetes crisis, Bermuda has initiated several programs aimed at prevention and management:

  • Screening Programs: The government and healthcare organizations encourage regular screenings, especially for high-risk individuals, to identify the condition and get diabetes treatment before serious complications develop.
  • Diet and Exercise Programs: Efforts to promote healthier living include public fitness events, nutritional education in schools, and community-based health improvement programs. 

Bermuda’s government also imposes a Sugar Tax, which is designed to reduce sugar consumption by increasing the cost of sugary drinks and certain snacks.

  • Public Health Campaigns: The Bermuda Diabetes Association focuses on educating the public about the risks of diabetes, the importance of early detection, and lifestyle modifications that help manage or prevent the condition. 

Bermuda also observes World Diabetes Day to raise awareness and encourage preventive measures among its citizens. To help individuals manage their diabetes, Bermuda has introduced tools like a Personal Diabetes Passport​.


Understanding Diabetes

Diabetes mellitus, commonly called diabetes, is a metabolic disorder that elevates blood sugar levels over a prolonged period. The condition primarily stems from the pancreas producing insufficient insulin or the body’s cells not responding correctly to insulin. Insulin is a hormone that manages the transportation of sugar into your cells, transforming glucose into energy.

Types of Diabetes

  • Type 1 Diabetes is an autoimmune condition that causes the body to mistakenly target and eliminate the cells in the pancreas that produce insulin. As a result, the body releases little to no insulin, requiring individuals to take insulin daily through injections or a pump. Type 1 diabetes is often diagnosed in children and young adults, though it can appear at any age. 
  • Type 2 Diabetes is the most common type of diabetes, and unlike Type 1, individuals can manage and sometimes reverse the condition with lifestyle changes, medication, and diet.
  • Gestational Diabetes arises in pregnant women who previously did not have diabetes but experienced elevated blood sugar levels during their pregnancy. This type of diabetes increases complications during childbirth but usually resolves after pregnancy. 
  • Prediabetes is a condition in which glucose levels are high but do not yet reach the threshold for a diabetes diagnosis.


Diabetes Symptoms

The common symptoms of diabetes include:

  • Increased thirst
  • Frequent urination
  • Extreme fatigue
  • Persistent hunger
  • Blurred vision
  • Slow-healing sores or frequent infections
  • Numbness or tingling in hands or feet

Less Common Symptoms

  • Unexplained weight loss
  • Irritability and other mood changes
  • Dry skin and itching
  • Red or swollen gums

Signs of Diabetes in Women

Women may experience several unique diabetes symptoms due to the interplay between blood sugar levels and hormonal fluctuations. Other symptoms of diabetes in women are: 

  • Frequent yeast infections
  • Urinary tract infections (UTIs)
  • Sexual dysfunction – decreased vaginal lubrication, reduced sensation, and difficulties in achieving orgasm
  • Menstrual irregularities, possibly linked to polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS) – a common comorbidity of Type 2 diabetes


Risk Factors for Diabetes

Early diagnosis and treatment of diabetes are critical to prevent long-term complications. These complications include stroke, heart disease, kidney disease, eye problems, and nerve damage. 

Doctors advise regular screening for those at risk of Type 2 diabetes. The risk factors are as follows:

  • Obesity
  • Inactivity
  • Family history
  • Age over 45
  • High blood pressure over 140/90 mmHg
  • Abnormal cholesterol and triglyceride levels
  • Smoking
  • Poor nutrition during pregnancy
  • Ethnicity – African Americans, Hispanic Americans, Native Americans, and Asian Americans are at higher risk.


Diabetes Treatment Options

Effective diabetes management involves a multifaceted approach, including changes in lifestyle, adherence to medication regimens, and regular health checks. Below are the different ways to treat diabetes: 

Lifestyle Modifications

A balanced, nutritious diet is crucial for diabetes management. Those with diabetes must:

  • Reduce sugar and refined carbohydrates, which can cause blood sugar spikes.
  • Increase dietary fiber to regulate blood sugar levels.
  • Eat regular meals and control portion sizes to manage body weight.

Moreover, regular physical activity increases insulin sensitivity, so your cells can use available sugar in your bloodstream better. Recommended activities include:

  • Aerobic exercises, such as Zumba, swimming, walking, or cycling 
  • Resistance training (weightlifting)

Weight Management

Even a small weight reduction improves blood sugar levels, reduces the need for medications, and decreases the risk of complications for overweight people. If your BMI is over 25, doctors recommend losing weight and bringing it within a normal range. You can talk to nutritionists, dietitians, and endocrinologists to request a diet for weight loss. 


Many people with diabetes require a combination of medications to control their blood sugar levels effectively. This approach might combine drugs from different classes to optimize blood sugar management. Medicines for diabetes include:

  • Metformin
  • Insulin injections or pumps
  • Sulfonylureas
  • DPP-4 inhibitors
  • GLP-1 receptor agonists
  • SGLT2 inhibitors


Regularly checking blood sugar levels assists individuals in guiding their daily treatment choices and verifying the effectiveness of their blood sugar management plan. Advanced continuous glucose monitoring (CGM) devices provide real-time data on glucose levels throughout the day.


The Best Diabetes Reversal Program in Bermuda

Over 500 million individuals worldwide have diabetes, with more than 51 million residing in the North America and Caribbean (NAC) region, which includes Bermuda. Projections suggest this number could increase to 63 million by 2045.

If you live in Bermuda and wish to manage or prevent diabetes, contact our expert medical team at Premier Health and Wellness Center. 

We offer the best diabetes reversal program in Bermuda, helping those with Type 2 diabetes and those at risk achieve and maintain healthy blood sugar levels mainly through significant lifestyle changes. The program operates under the guidance of the most reputable Bermuda doctors, dietitians, and specialists to provide a holistic and personalized approach to diabetes management.

To learn more about our diabetes reversal program and other healthcare services at PHWC, call 441-292-5111 or fill out our online contact form. You’re welcome to visit our Bermuda healthcare clinics at the following locations:

  • Hamilton: 38 King Street, Hamilton HM12, Bermuda
  • St. Georges: The Bank of Butterfield Building, 1 King’s Square St George’s Bermuda GE05


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