Published on July 26, 2019

Living Your Life With Diabetes

Pennsylvanians are increasingly feeling the effects of diabetes with more than 1.5 million residents currently living with diabetes, and many others that may have diabetes and are unaware. Every year an estimated 71,000 people in Pennsylvania are diagnosed with diabetes. Diabetes and prediabetes cost an estimated $13.4 billion in Pennsylvania each year. The serious complications include heart disease, stroke, amputation, end-stage kidney disease, blindness, and death.  

Philadelphia, specifically, has seen a severe increase in diabetes rates. In recent years, Philadelphia’s adult diabetes rate has grown more severe and is significantly worse than in other large U.S. cities. In 2017, Philadelphia became the nation’s largest city with a soda tax. The soda tax effectively discourages unhealthy consumption of sugary beverages, potentially fighting obesity and other chronic conditions like diabetes.  

Diabetes is a chronic health condition that affects how your body turns food into energy. If you have diabetes, your blood glucose, or blood sugar, levels are too high. Glucose comes from the foods you eat. Insulin is a hormone that helps the glucose enter your cells and produce energy. There are two types of diabetes, type 1 and type 2 diabetes. With type 1 diabetes, your body does not produce insulin. With type 2 diabetes, the most common type of diabetes, your body does not produce or utilize insulin well. Without enough insulin, the glucose stays in your blood. Over time, having too much glucose in your blood can cause serious health problems that can damage your eyes, kidneys, and nerves. Prediabetes means that your blood sugar is higher than normal, but not high enough to be diagnosed as type 2 diabetes. Prediabetes increases your risk of type 2 diabetes, heart disease and stroke.  

 As diabetes rates continue to rise in the United States, the demand for awareness, education and support are more significant than ever. There is no cure for diabetes, but it can be prevented, delayed, and even reversed with healthy lifestyle changes that include: exercising regularly, weight control, and sticking to the proper meal plan to help manage your diabetes. Monitoring blood sugar and taking prescribed medication can also help to prevent complications. 

According to Marc McKenna, MD, family medicine, Chestnut Hill Hospital, “the earlier a person seeks advice and treatment, the better chance we have to manage or reverse the condition.” You are at risk for developing prediabetes or type 2 diabetes if you are: overweight, age 45+, have a family member with type 2 diabetes, are physically active less than 3 times per week, or if you have ever had gestational diabetes (diabetes while pregnant). 

If you have been diagnosed with diabetes, prediabetes or gestational diabetes, we want you to know that with education and careful management, you can live well. Understand, monitor and manage diabetes to stay healthy with help from Chestnut Hill Hospital’s diabetes education program. The Chestnut Hill Hospital Diabetes Education Workshop is a 4-week program featuring interactive discussions about current issues impacting people with diabetes. Each week focuses on a different session led by certified diabetes educator and insulin pump specialist Kirsten Puskar, MS, RDN, LDN, CDE. Join us at the diabetes workshop on Wednesdays, from 12 to 2 p.m., at Center on the Hill, 8855 Germantown Ave. (next to Hospital behind the Presbyterian Church), to receive personalized attention and answers to your specific concerns. Learn what it takes to maintain a healthy lifestyle.  
No registration required. Walk-ins welcome. Questions? Call 215-248-8030.  
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