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Regis College and Joslin Clinic experts advise on living well with diabetesApril 28, 2014
Amy Anderson, Lecture Coordinator; Bridget Stewart; Martin J. Abrahamson; Catherine Carver; Jo-Anne Rizzotto; Stephanie Edwards
The good news about diabetes is that some types of the disease can be prevented, and people who have it can live well with it. So said a panel of experts from the Joslin Clinic, known worldwide for its work in the treatment of diabetes, while speaking at the Regis College Health Lecture on Wednesday, April 23.
The bad news is that the diabetes epidemic affects more than 21 million people in the United States today and is growing by more than 1 million per year. The staggering cost to treat diabetes in the U.S. is $245 billion per year.
According to Martin J. Abrahamson, MD, Senior Vice President for Medical Affairs at Joslin Diabetes Center in Boston, “there is a parallel association between diabetes and obesity, reduction of exercise and excess consumption of calories.” The problem is not just in the U.S. It is global with a world-wide increase of 51% expected by 2030.
Complications of the disease can be serious, including retinopathy or blindness, nephropathy (also known as kidney disease), neuropathy, and cardiovascular disease. Diabetic retinopathy is the number one cause of new blindness in working-age adults in the U.S., according to Catherine Carver, MS, ANP, CDE, Vice President of Clinical Innovation at Joslin. However, yearly dilated eye exams can save someone’s eye sight, she explained. Joslin Clinic is treating on average 250 patients per day with a systemic approach to care using a healthcare team.
Training patients and care givers to manage the disease through healthy eating, physical activity, monitoring blood glucose levels, and medication is imperative. Jo-Anne Rizzotto, MEd, RD, LDN, CDE, Director of Educational Services at Joslin explained lifestyle management tools available to assist patients with behavioral changes.
Attendees were given a first-hand account of what it’s like to live well with diabetes by Stephanie Edwards, MPH, Project Manager at Joslin Institute for Technology Translation. She described the everyday experiences of a patient using an insulin pump and continuous glucose monitoring.
Bridget Stewart, LPD, MBA, Vice President Clinical Operations at Joslin moderated the panel. Attendee Diane Cohen of Framingham, a nurse and faculty member at an area college, was impressed with the qualifications of the panelists and interested in the subject because a family member has the disease. The free nursing and social work contact hours are a great draw to the regular series and help keep healthcare providers abreast of new developments in medicine.
The Regis College President’s Lecture Series on Health was established in 2007 by former President Mary Jane England, MD, in partnership with Harvard Pilgrim Health Care. The unique series of lectures designed to challenge the community to develop new skills to build awareness of contemporary health and wellness issues and learn to effect positive change. Topics for the Fall 2014 season include “Anxiety/Drug Abuse/Panic Attacks/Treatment” and “What is in Your DNA? Genetics and Cancer Treatment.” For more information about the Lectures, visit our web site.