MVH Helps Put People in Control of Their Diabetes

“I may have diabetes, but I am going to control it and not let it control me,” said Frank Roth when he received his diagnosis at age 41. Frank is among the growing number of people newly diagnosed with Type 2 diabetes who choose to be proactive in managing the chronic disease. Type 2 diabetes, which is the most common form of diabetes, occurs when people have high levels of sugar in their blood.

“A diagnosis of diabetes means that a person must make some adaptations in his or her life,” said Karen Pritts, program director for the Center for Diabetes and Endocrinology at Monongahela Valley Hospital. “Every day we tell people with diabetes that they can live normal lives. Their quality of life truly depends on how much they know about diabetes and how well they use their knowledge to successfully manage the disease.”

Frank was one of 18.8 million people who have been diagnosed with diabetes. There are still  7 million who have diabetes and have not yet been diagnosed. According to the American Diabetes Association (ADA), in 2010, there were 1.9 million new cases of diabetes diagnosed in people age 20 and older.

Diabetes is a disease that does not discriminate by gender, race or age. It affects 11.8 percent of all men over the age of 20 and 10.8 percent of all women who have reached this age. The ADA reports that according to national survey data for people diagnosed with diabetes aged 20 years and older, 7.1 percent are non-Hispanic whites, 8.4 percent are Asian Americans, 12.6 percent are non-Hispanic blacks and 11.8 are Hispanics.

Diabetes brings with it a host of possible complications which could include:

  • Heart disease and stroke. Adults with diabetes have heart disease death rates nearly two to four times higher than adults without diabetes, and the risk for stroke also is two to four times higher.
  • High blood pressure. From 2005-2008, 67 percent of adults with diabetes ages 20 and older used prescription medications for hypertension.
  • Blindness. Diabetes is the leading cause of new cases of blindness among adults ages 20-74.
  • Kidney disease. Diabetes is the leading cause of kidney failure accounting for 44 percent of new cases in 2008.
  • Nervous system disorder. Approximately 60 to 70 percent of people with diabetes have mild to severe forms of nervous system damage.
  • Amputation. More than 60 percent of non-traumatic lower limb amputations occur in people with diabetes.

Diabetes is manageable and there are programs in the Monongahela Valley area to help people live with the disease. Monongahela Valley Hospital offers convenient access to outpatient and inpatient diabetes education and care as well as diabetes prevention education. A team of certified diabetes educators, physicians, nurses, dietitians and professional staff work with people to help them better understand and manage their diabetes. The Diabetes Self Management Program at Monongahela Valley Hospital is recognized by the American Diabetes Association as meeting the national standards for education.

MVH was one of the first hospitals in Western Pennsylvania to raise the bar for high-quality diabetes care and education. In 2010, the Carroll Township facility was the second hospital in Pennsylvania and only the 21st in the nation to achieve Joint Commission Certification for Inpatient Diabetes Management. Today, only 48 hospitals in the United States have earned The Joint Commission’s Certification for their Inpatient Diabetes programs. In 2012, MVH received recertification by The Joint Commission with its respected Gold Seal of Approval™ for its Advanced Inpatient Diabetes Management Program. To achieve recertification, MVH demonstrated compliance with The Joint Commission’s national standards for health care quality and safety in disease-specific care.

“Our team works with the patients’ doctors to create care plans that meet each person’s individual needs,” said Ms. Pritts.

MVH’s outpatient services include classes and counseling related to:

  • Blood sugar monitoring
  • Insulin and oral self-management skills
  • Nutrition counseling and meal planning
  • Exercise and fitness
  • Stress management

The Hospital’s staff also offers diabetes support groups and education days. Each month, MVH hosts “Managing Your Diabetes,” a three-day education series that focuses on self-management and care. Classes are two hours each day and registration is required. The next series will be held March 5-7 at the Mon-Vale HealthPLEX in Belle Vernon and March 19-21 at the hospital. Once people take the three-day self management training, they can attend Advanced Carbohydrate Counting, a class that focuses on carbohydrate counting. How to measure the upward drive each meal has on blood sugar and information on the glycemic index are among the topics discussed. The next class will be held March 27 at the hospital.

“At Monongahela Valley Hospital, when counseling a patient, we tell him or her that diabetes can control their life or you can control your diabetes. The choice is yours.”

For more information about Monongahela Valley Hospital’s diabetes educational classes, counseling programs, support groups and education days, contact the Center for Diabetes and Endocrinology at 724-258-1483.

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