Prevention, Screening and Lifestyle Changes Could Reverse the Alarming Increase in Diabetes

 

By Catherine Brown, MS, RD, CDE
Diabetes Education Coordinator

November is National Diabetes Awareness Month.  The incidence of diabetes is increasing at an alarming rate worldwide.  In theUnited States, 26 million people have diabetes.  That’s 8.3 percent of us. Chances are you know someone with diabetes.  Additionally, an estimated 79 million people have pre-diabetes, which means the sugar level in their blood is higher than normal and could lead to diabetes. 

Here are a few more statistics from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention that paint an even clearer picture of this enormous public health problem: 

  • Every 17 seconds, someone is diagnosed with diabetes.
  • Diabetes kills more people each year than breast cancer and AIDS combined.
  • By 2050, according to some estimates, as many as 1 in 3 Americans will have diabetes.

Symptoms of diabetes include extreme fatigue, blurry vision, frequent urination and increased thirst.  However, many people don’t experience any symptoms, or don’t have symptoms until their blood sugar levels are much too high.  To help determine if you are at risk for developing diabetes, take the risk test at http://www.diabetes.org/assets/pdfs/alert-day-2011/diabetes-risk-test-english.pdf. Discuss your results with your doctor.

The good news is that a major research study, called the Diabetes Prevention Program, showed that the more common type 2 diabetes can be prevented with lifestyle changes. Performing 150 minutes of exercise per week and reducing calorie and fat intake to lose 7 percent body weight was effective in preventing or delaying diabetes.  To learn more about this study, visit http://ndep.nih.gov/media/dpp_factsheet.pdf.

Diabetes is a chronic and costly disease that can lead to kidney disease, eye damage, nerve damage and heart disease if not well controlled.  People with diabetes need to adopt several behaviors, such as staying active, eating a healthy diet and monitoring their blood sugar.  Usually, they need a team of professionals to help manage the condition. The University of Maryland Center for Diabetes and Endocrinology offers physicians, nurse practitioners, diabetes educators, dietitians, pharmacists, podiatrists and psychiatrists to assist patients. It provides diabetes education classes to help patients better manage their diabetes.

 To learn more about our services or to make an appointment, please call 410-328-6584 or visit http://www.umm.edu/diabetes/index.htm. For more information about diabetes, check out the American Diabetes Association’s website at http://www.diabetes.org/.

A Legacy of Compassion and Understanding

By Iris T. Smith, MSW, LCSW-C
UMMC Clinical Social Worker

Editor’s Note: Jean Tucker Mann (right), a long-time UMMC social worker who was a pioneer in her field, has been selected by The National Association of Social Workers (NASW) , to receive its 2010 National Lifetime Achievement Award today (April 28) at the Annual Leadership Meeting at the Hyatt Regency Hotel in Washington, DC.

Mann has worked for 35 years in the public and nonprofit sectors, most recently as director of social work and human services at University of Maryland Medical Center. She retired from UMMC in 2005 after leading a multidisciplinary effort that established the Palliative Care Program for patients with life-altering or terminal illness.

In recognition of her leadership and accomplishments at UMMC, “The Jean Tucker Mann Award” was established in her honor to recognize those who make a difference in the way Jean did for so many years.

Below, Iris T. Smith, one of Jean’s former co-workers and a UMMC clinical social worker, shares her thoughts about Jean and what makes her so special.

It is with a great deal of pride and affection that I write a few words about Jean Tucker Mann and her accomplishments while she was director of social work and human services at the University of Maryland Medical Center.

Jean was a dynamic leader who communicated with all. Her door was always open and staff felt comfortable in stopping by her office to discuss a variety of subjects. I feel that Jean was a special leader because of her commitment to excellence and her ability to take on new tasks, like establishing the Palliative Care Program at UMMC, and her work as founding member of UMMC’s Diversity Council. She used a situation that I had confronted and dealt with in regards to race to illustrate the need to the administration for a Diversity Council.

Jean nominated me for the Gold Award, the highest employee award given by UMMC, because of the professional way I handled the situation, which reflected the medical center’s mission, vision and values. Thanks to Jean, I received this award in 2004. Jean was an advocate for all.

Finally, Jean’s legacy and impact will live on through the programs she established and for the manner she was able to engage all levels of staff. She was a role model and encouraged all to work at a high level. She was warm, caring, inspirational and able to engage all around her on tasks that needed to be accomplished. Jean was special, which is why she was so loved.

Have Voice Problems? Get to Know Dr. VyVy Young

As the new Director of Laryngology at the University of Maryland Medical Center, Dr. VyVy N. Young has been instrumental in expanding the number of services UMMC offers to patients who are experiencing a wide array of voice-related problems and disorders.

Dr. Young offers a variety of treatment options for our patients who have been diagnosed with benign vocal lesions, chronic hoarseness, paradoxical vocal fold disorder, spasmodic dysphonia and vocal fold paralysis. She also offers an extensive variety of professional voice care options for patients who rely heavily on their voices in their daily lives.

Dr. Young specializes in office-based laryngeal surgery, allowing our patients to have many of their procedures performed in the comfort of an office setting at a time most convenient for their busy schedules.

If you or someone you know is concerned about voice-related condition or problem, we encourage you to visit the Division of Laryngology Web site to find out more about Dr. Young and the services she and her team can offer.

Light One Little Candle Provides Books to Children of Cancer Patients

The University of Maryland Greenebaum Cancer Center held a familiy-friendly event in the Stoler Pavilion on March 1, 2011, when it launched Light One Little Candle, a program to provide books to children of cancer patients and caregivers. The program is based on the belief that reading together creates a special bond between parent and child and distracts from the worries of cancer treatment while promoting the lifelong pleasure of reading.

Hospital staff, patients and families gathered for the kick-off event organized by the University of Maryland Department of Social Work and the Greenebaum Cancer Center. Children and grandchildren of patients and staff came dressed as storybook characters and enjoyed arts and crafts activities and refreshments. Books were presented to the children to take home and read with their parents.

Donations of new books are welcome. To donate, choose from University of Maryland Medical Center’s wish list on Amazon.com or purchase new books from any bookstore and send them to:

University of Maryland Medical Center
c/o Rebecca Latham
Associate Director of Social Work
22 S. Greene Street
Baltimore, MD 21201

For more information about this program, please contact Becky Latham in the Department of Social Work at 410-328-6506.

New Perioperative (Surgical) Services Web Site Helps Patients Prepare for Surgery

By Chris Lindsley
Blog Editor

Preparing for a surgical procedure can be a stressful time for patients and their families. The more you know about what to expect, though, the better you may feel about this process. The University of Maryland Medical Center has created a Web site to explain the process in detail, and to answer many of the questions you and your family may have.

Some of the things you will find on our new Perioperative (Surgical) Services Web site include:

If you have any questions, or need additional information, please call the PREP Center at 410-328-5750.

Real-Life Heroes Recognized at UMMC

By Malissa Carroll
Web Content Developer

Eight health care professionals from the University of Maryland Medical Center and the University of Maryland School of Medicine were recently recognized as finalists in the Daily Record’s 2011 Health Care Heroes awards program.

From a transplant surgeon who pioneered the use of single-incision laparoscopic kidney removal to benefit those selfless individuals who step forward to donate kidneys to their loved ones at the UMMC Transplant Center to an oncology nurse who rallied individuals in the UMMC community to knit and crochet more than 100 lap blankets for cancer patients this past holiday season, these individuals embody the spirit of the word “hero” and make a positive impact on the lives of others each day.

For more information about the finalists, please visit the Health Care Heroes Finalists page on the UMMC Web site, which features a complete list of the eight UMMC finalists, the reason each was nominated and a wealth of related links and information.

How to Keep Your Voice Safe During Super Bowl Weekend

By VyVy Young

UMMC Director of Laryngology

Here are some tips to keep your voice safe as you cheer for your most favorite Super Bowl team … or against your least favorite Super Bowl team!

Stay Well Hydrated

  • This keeps the vocal cords well lubricated for vibration, which occurs hundreds of times per second as we speak (or cheer, or yell).
  • Caffeine and alcohol have dehydrating effects, so drink extra water to compensate for this.

Give it a Rest

  • Even brief periods of not talking (ex: commercial breaks!) can help restore the voice.

Volume Control

  • Trying to talk above the surrounding environmental noise can strain your voice.
  • Lean in closer to the person you’re talking to, so that you don’t have to work so hard to be heard.
  • Step away into a quieter area to carry on longer conversations.

Stop Talking…

  • If your voice gets hoarse, or
  • If you experience a sudden change in voice.

When to Seek Evaluation by a Laryngologist (Voice Specialist):

  • For a sudden change in voice, or
  • Persistent hoarseness, because these are NOT normal!

More Super Bowl Tips

UMMC Nurse, Son, Use Post Traumatic Stress Disorder Experience to Help Others

By Deborah Yohn
Registered Nurse, UMMC’s Shock Trauma Center

I will never forget the day I received the call. The person on the other end of the line said, “I am calling with an alert call. I need you to get your husband and let him know there is a possibility he will be going to Iraq. He needs to give me a call for orders and the location of where to report.” From that moment on, my family’s life was turned upside down as we tried to get our affairs in order for a long separation.

My husband’s unit returned one year later to Fort Bragg in North Carolina. The days and nights of wondering if we would ever see him once again were at an end, but the difficult journey for my family wasn’t over. Although we survived what was thought to be the most difficult part of the deployment, we soon came to understand that things can be even more difficult once our soldier returned home. Evidence of the post traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) my husband was struggling with soon began to show.

PTSD Became a “Four-Letter Bad Word”

For my family, PTSD became a “four-letter bad word.” My son Isaac (pictured above with his mom), who was under 10 years old at the time, had no idea what PTSD was, but he knew that it was difficult, bad and scary. It was because of the support I received from fellow nurses at the University of Maryland Medical Center that I was able to get the assistance I needed to begin the process of learning and healing.

My husband’s physical injury was easy to define and treat. The prognosis was clear, and there were no unpredictable factors in his care. He had surgery at UMMC, and though his recovery and physical therapy were difficult, it was expected. Recovering from PTSD, however, proved to be the exact opposite. This disorder had become something that held my husband hostage, and was destroying my family. At first, I thought things would just work out by themselves. After all, no one talked about PTSD, so it couldn’t be that difficult to recover from, right?

It was difficult trying to hold all the pieces together and keep things at home “normal, quiet and predictable.” Actually, it was impossible. Children are not quiet, nor are they predictable, so PTSD became my new best friend. I also learned about another condition known as “Secondary PTSD.” The effects of my husband’s PTSD trickled down to the whole family, making life very difficult, stressful and, at times, even made us feel hopeless.

Journal of Healing Turns into Book to Help Others

In my search for a book to explain what was happening in our family to my son, I found nothing that was helpful. We all started working with a therapist who suggested I write a journal with my son, so each night my son and I would snuggle up and take about ten minutes to write about PTSD. It became our quiet time together, and a time of healing. Together, we wrote a story about our journey.

When my son was finished with our little project, the therapist wanted to read the book. At the time, I was not at all happy with the thought of sharing something so personal. I had struggled with the title my son gave the book, Never Lose Your Hope. In all my years as a nurse, wife and mother of three, hope was always alive. The glass was always half-full, so to speak, and I could smile through just about anything. I had no idea that my son had begun to lose hope that things would ever be normal again. I was aware of the changes in myself and in the family, but thought I hid them well. I had no clue that my hope of recovering from this seemed to have disappeared and my son had noticed.

After giving the book to the therapist, she suggested that we publish it because she felt it was a resource that could help many other children and families dealing with the same situation. Our story is a story about PTSD as told through the eyes of a child. This little book is our attempt to normalize PTSD and provide a tool for other children who have a family member who has returned home after serving his or her country different than when he or she left. It is a quick read — only 40 pages — but there are no pictures because my son thought pictures would make the book pretty, and to him, there is nothing pretty about PTSD.

If you would like to order Never Lose Your Hope, please visit www.PublishAmerica.com or www.amazon.com.

Take a Virtual Tour of UMMC’s Pediatric Surgical Center

This two-minute video provides a child-friendly tour of the Pediatric Surgical Center within the University of Maryland Hospital for Children. This video includes directions to the surgical center, a tour of the waiting area and a step-by-step guide that helps young patients know what to expect during the pre-op process.

Related Information:

A Closer Look at Fad Diets

By Karen Kolowski, RD, CNSD, LDN
UMMC Registered Dietitian and Nutritionist

Editor’s Note: Karen Kolowski, RD, CNSD, LDN, wrote this post on January 6, 2011 for Exercists, the Baltimore Sun’s health and fitness blog. This post is reprinted with the permission of the Baltimore Sun.

Are your jeans just a little too tight after eating a few too many elegant holiday cookies, savoring the delicious stuffing or drinking the rich eggnog? Or, do you consider yourself a lifetime member of the “Need to Lose 50 or More Pounds Club?” Either way, if you want to slim down, you most likely will turn to a “diet book” for your weight loss advice. That’s when the confusion sets in. There is a dizzying array of fad diets to peruse. Which ones should you choose? Which ones are safe? Each month, we will break down some of these diets to help you make an informed decision. This month we look at the Atkins, South Beach and Cabbage Soup diets.

Both the Atkins and South Beach diets restrict carbohydrates. Most foods contain carbs, either simple or complex, which your body breaks down and uses for fuel. The Atkins diet severely restricts refined sugar, milk, flour, and rice but allows you to eat any fat or animal products (protein). The theory behind the Atkins diet is that your body will burn fat, as opposed to carbs (your body’s preferred source), as fuel, encouraging weight loss. The first two weeks of the diet almost completely bans all fruit and bread products, supposedly to jumpstart the weight loss process. Slowly, high fiber foods are allowed back into your daily meals in the forms of fruit, vegetables and whole grains. Banned for life are white potatoes, white rice, anything made with white flour (think bagels and cookies) and pasta. The Atkins diet induces weight loss because total calorie intake is lower, but the long-term safety of this diet is still in question. Short-term side effects may include constipation and foul breath, but long-term use could also promote heart disease due to increased intake of saturated and trans fats (the bad fats).

The South Beach Diet differs slightly from the Atkins diet by promoting healthy fats (unsaturated) rather than unhealthy ones, and suggests choosing carbs that have a lower glycemic index — foods that don’t cause your blood sugar to rise and fall sharply. There are three phases to the diet. During the first two weeks, almost all carbs are banned (just as with the Atkins diet), but low-fat or non-fat dairy is allowed. The second phase reintroduces certain foods such as pasta, fruit and certain high glycemic index vegetables (think carrots) but portion sizes are strictly enforced. The final phase begins once your target weight is reached. The South Beach diet initially induces weight loss but it most likely is water weight. However, the final phase strictly enforces portion control, doesn’t leave out any food groups and promotes exercise — a winning combination for weight loss and maintenance.

The Cabbage Soup diet is designed as a short-term weight loss plan and it guarantees you will lose 10 pounds. It is meant to last only 7 days but the diet is very restrictive as to which foods can be eaten on certain days. This is a low calorie but high fiber diet which can cause bloating or gas and doesn’t teach healthy habits. The weight lost will be mostly water weight and will return once normal eating is resumed. Taking a multivitamin during the week is a must since this diet is dangerously low in calories and nutrients.

Overall, any diet that promotes fewer calories in or more calories out (burned by exercise or increased physical activity), should induce weight loss. Deciding which diet to choose is difficult and there are so many options. Discuss your weight loss plans with your health care team and get the okay for any new exercise programs.

To find a registered dietitian in your area, contact the American Dietetic Association at www.eatright.org, or call one of the area hospitals.

Other Posts by Karen Kolowski: