Diabetes Is Not Something to Ignore
A certified diabetes educator like Michelle Brown can help people better manage their diabetes through education, including how to eat a balanced diet.It's a fact: adult diabetes is more widespread in Philadelphia than any other of the 11 largest counties in the U.S. According to the Community Health Assessment published by the Philadelphia Department of Public Health in May 2014, the rate of diabetes in this city has gotten worse over time.
So why should people be concerned?
"Diabetes has such a huge impact on your body and quality of life," says Michelle Brown, clinical nutrition manager and a certified diabetes educator at Mercy Philadelphia Hospital. "If left untreated, diabetes can lead to blindness, loss of limbs, reduced circulation in the hands and feet, and poor kidney function, among other issues."
Adult onset diabetes, or type 2 diabetes, is a chronic condition where blood sugar (glucose) levels rise higher than normal. High blood sugars can affect the heart, eyes, kidneys and nerves. Symptoms of type 2 diabetes include increased thirst and urination, increased hunger, weight loss, fatigue, blurred vision, slow-healing wounds or frequent infections, and areas of darkened skin. Brown says it is possible to reduce, and in some cases, even reverse, the effects of diabetes. Eating a balanced diet, weight loss, exercising and staying physically active are important lifestyle factors that can reduce risk for diabetes. Regular visits with a doctor are also key.
"It is so important to know what's going on with your body," says Brown. "A doctor and a diabetes educator can help you manage your symptoms and follow a proper treatment plan." Education and support are other important tools to help manage diabetes.
"Diabetes education can have a wide range of positive effects," says Linda Keller-Doyle, who coordinates diabetes education classes at Mercy Fitzgerald Hospital. "Studies have shown that patients who have completed diabetes education had fewer hospitalizations, reduced medical costs, and improvements in diabetes blood tests."
Need help with diabetes?Mercy Fitzgerald and Mercy Philadelphia Hospitals have resources to help individuals manage diabetes, including education classes and support groups.
To learn more, visit www.mercyhealth.org/diabetes.