Wellness Words November 2018

Wellness Words November 2018

HealthLink Littauer’sAlicia DeRuscio-Head


Submitted by Alicia DeRuscio, B.S.

Community Education Assistant



According to the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases (NIDDK), over 30 million Americans have diabetes with 1.5 million Americans newly diagnosed every year. 

What is diabetes?

The NIDDK defines diabetes as a chronic health condition that occurs when blood glucose levels, or blood sugar, get too high. When you eat, your digestive system breaks down much of your food into glucose. Glucose is then absorbed into your blood and eventually used as energy.

However, in order for your cells to absorb glucose they must be supplied with a hormone called insulin. Insulin acts as a key to “unlock” the cells and allow glucose to enter.  When the body doesn’t have enough insulin or cannot use the insulin properly, glucose is unable to enter your cells and remains in your blood.  This lack of insulin results in diabetes.

Over time, diabetes can cause major health problems including heart disease, stroke, kidney disease and more. In light of November being ‘American Diabetes Month,’ it’s important to educate yourself on the different types of diabetes, the risk factors, and the steps you can take in preventing diabetes. 

Type 1 and Type 2 Diabetes

The American Heart Association classifies diabetes into two main forms: type 1 diabetes and type 2 diabetes.  According to the NIDDK, if you have type 1 diabetes your body does not make insulin on its own.  Therefore, you must take insulin every day.

If you have type 2 diabetes your body either does not make insulin properly or does not use the insulin that is made properly. Type 2 diabetes is the most common form of diabetes and can usually be managed through diet and exercise.

Other forms of diabetes include gestational diabetes, monogenic diabetes and cystic fibrosis–related diabetes.

Risk Factors

The National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases lists several risk factors for developing diabetes including:

  • Being 45 years of age or older
  • Having a family history of diabetes
  • Being overweight
  • Lack of physical activity
  • Race
  • Other health problems such as high blood pressure


In order to reduce your risk for developing diabetes, the American Heart Association recommends managing weight by consuming a heart–healthy diet that includes all five food groups and limits saturated fat, trans fat, salt and added sugars.

Aim to get at least 150 minutes of physical activity each week at a moderate intensity. Moderate intensity activities may include brisk walking, light bicycling, or water aerobics

Other preventative measures include minimizing alcohol consumption, quitting smoking, lowering blood pressure and taking medications as prescribed by your healthcare provider. 


HealthLink currently offers a monthly ‘Diabetes Discussion.’ These free educational sessions are for anyone with diabetes, their family members and caregivers.  A new topic will be discussed each month focusing on strategies to assist with managing this chronic condition.

For more information on diabetes, talk to your healthcare provider or call HealthLink Littauer at 518-736-1120. You can email us at healthlink@nlh.org or visit our wellness center on 2 Colonial Court in downtown Johnstown.  We’re your community health & wellness service of Nathan Littauer Hospital and Nursing Home.

Nathan Littauer Achieves Renewal of Certified Diabetes Educator® Status

Hospital remains resource for those living with diabetes

 The National Certification Board for Diabetes Educators (NCBDE) announced that Nathan Littauer Hospital has renewed the certified Diabetes educator® (CDE®) status by successfully completing thee continuing Education renewal option process. Candidates must meet rigorous eligibility requirements to be eligible for certification. Achieving the CDE credential demonstrates to people with diabetes and employers that the health care professional posses distinct and specialized knowledge, thereby promoting quality of care fro people with diabetes. Currently, there are over 17,400 diabetes educators who hold the NCBDE certification.

Kathie Rohrs, RN, MSN, CDE heads up Littauer’s Diabetes Education Programs

“This certification is a great personal and professional achievement.” stated Kathie Rohrs, MSN, CDE. Mrs. Rohrs heads up Diabetic Programming for Nathan Littauer. She continues, “Maintaining my CDE status validates my endeavors in remaining current with professional standards of care in diabetes management education”

Nathan Littauer Hospital Diabetes Education is an American Diabetes Association recognized program since 2002. Mr. Rohrs said, “We have a comprehensive program for people who are living with diabetes or for those who are newly diagnosed. Our approach is highly customized and personable. We are unique because we offer a multidisciplinary team of educators focused on the patient’s learning experience.” Mrs. Rohrs has been a nurse at Nathan Littauer Hospital for over 25 years and holds a Masters of Science in Nursing with an Education Specialization. She concludes, “Teaching people how to manage their disease is at the heart of this program. I am very proud of our team and our patients.” 

Wellness Words November 2011

HealthLink Littauer’s


Submitted by Ryan Wille, B.S.

Community Health Educator



According to Web MD, diabetes affects more than 23 million people in the United States and is the most common disorder of the endocrine, or hormone, system. The disease occurs when blood sugar levels in the body constantly stay above normal. Diabetes is caused by the body’s inability to make insulin or by the body not responding to the effects of insulin.

Type 1 diabetes occurs because the insulin-producing cells of the pancreas are destroyed by the immune system. Individuals with Type 1 diabetes produce no insulin and must use insulin injections to control their blood sugar. Type 1 diabetes most commonly starts in individuals under the age of 20, but can occur at any age. The symptoms include:

  • Increased thirst
  • Increased hunger (especially after eating)
  • Dry mouth
  • Frequent urination
  • Unexplained weight loss
  • Fatigue
  • Blurred vision
  • Labored, heavy breathing
  • Loss of consciousness

With Type 2 diabetes, the body continues to produce insulin. However, this insulin is either not enough or the body is unable to recognize the insulin and use it properly. This keeps the glucose from entering the body’s cells. Type 2 is the most common form of diabetes and affects almost 18 million Americans. Type 2 diabetes usually occurs in individuals over the age of 40 who are overweight, but it can occur in individuals who are not overweight. The disease has also recently appeared more often in children. The symptoms of Type 2 include:

  • Slow-healing sores or cuts
  • Itching of the skin
  • Yeast infections
  • Recent weight gain
  • Numbness or tingling of the hands and feet
  • Impotence or erectile dysfunction
  • Increased thirst
  • Increased urination
  • Increased hunger
  • Blurred vision

The link between obesity and Type 2 diabetes is very clear. Therefore, individuals can greatly reduce their chance of developing the disease by slimming down if they are overweight. This is especially true for individuals who have a family history of diabetes. Studies have shown that exercise and a healthy diet can prevent the development of Type 2 diabetes in individuals who have impaired glucose tolerance, which is a condition that develops prior to Type 2 diabetes. Medications have also been shown to provide similar benefits. Medications have been used to prevent the onset of Type 2 diabetes for individuals with pre-diabetes conditions.

There are also practices that individuals with diabetes can do to assist themselves in managing the disease. Exercise and a nutritionally balanced diet have also been shown to benefit individuals who already have diabetes. Exercise and a well balanced diet can greatly limit the effects of both Type 1 and Type 2 diabetes on the body. Stopping smoking is one of the best ways to help prevent the damaging effects of diabetes. Smoking dramatically increases the risk of heart disease, particularly for individuals with diabetes.

If you do smoke, consider joining us in the Great American Smokeout on Thursday, November 17, when millions of Americans will quit smoking for at least 24 hours. Free ‘quit tips’ will be available at HealthLink and Nathan Littauer Hospital, including information on local quit smoking services, the N.Y.S. Smokers’ Quitline, and how to get free nicotine replacement therapy.

For more information, contact your health care provider, Littauer’s Diabetes Center of Excellence at 773-5425, or HealthLink Littauer at 736-1120. You can e-mail us at healthlink@nlh.org, see our website at nlh.org, or visit our wellness center at 213 Harrison Street Ext. in Johnstown, Monday – Friday, 9 a.m. – 5 p.m. We’re your community health & wellness service of Nathan Littauer Hospital and Nursing Home.