Speaking at a press conference today (November 13) to promote diabetes awareness, Senator Pat Browne, Representative Ryan Mackenzie and Dr. Terri Lipman, an award-winning Professor at the University of Pennsylvania School of Nursing and pediatric nurse practitioner in the Division of Diabetes and Endocrinology at the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia, discussed the growing impact of the chronic disease on people of all ages.
Senator Browne is the prime sponsor of Senate Resolution 484, which recognized November 2018 as “National Diabetes Month” in Pennsylvania. The Resolution was unanimously adopted by the Senate on October 17.
“For those who’ve been diagnosed, diabetes impacts nearly every decision they make daily—from what they’ll eat, wear, do and how they’ll take care of themselves,” Senator Browne said. “The 24/7 burden of diabetes management is often misunderstood. This awareness campaign is intended to demonstrate the everyday reality of diabetes from the point of view of people living with diabetes or caring for someone with diabetes.”
Representative Mackenzie recognized the need for additional education concerning Type 1 diabetes and introduced House Resolution 569, a measure unanimously adopted by the House in November 2015, which urged all Pennsylvanian health care practitioners to educate and discuss the warning signs and symptoms of Type 1 diabetes with the patients or guardians of each child under their care.
Type I diabetes, previously called insulin-dependent diabetes mellitus or juvenile-onset diabetes, is usually diagnosed in children and young adults. It is estimated that only 5% of people with diabetes have this form of the disease. Since
“Educating the public about diabetes is vital and individuals must be aware of the measures they can take to avoid the disease and to take effective measures if they do fall victim to it,” said Representative Mackenzie. “The symptoms of diabetes can resemble other conditions or medical problems so it is important that patients seek medical attention as soon as possible in order to take steps to bring it under control.”
Dr. Lipman was one of the authors of the Pennsylvania Diabetes Action Plan, part of the Pennsylvania Chronic Care Initiative, chaired the state’s Diabetes Surveillance Committee and leads the Philadelphia Pediatric Diabetes Registry. At today’s press conference she discussed the importance of early diagnosis of type 1 diabetes and the rising incidence in children under the age of 5.
“Senate Resolution 484 is not merely about diabetes awareness- it is about saving lives. The delayed diagnosis of type 1 diabetes can result in a serious condition called diabetic ketoacidosis – the number one cause of death at the time of diagnosis,” said Dr. Lipman. “Children 5 years of age and younger are the population most at risk. They have the highest prevalence of morbidity and mortality because of delayed diagnosis of diabetes.”
Diabetes is a chronic disease that affects an estimated 30.3 million Americans. Pennsylvania has a diabetes epidemic – with approximately 1.5 million people living with diabetes and an estimated 325,000 Pennsylvanians undiagnosed.
In addition, 3.5 million people in Pennsylvania have pre-diabetes with blood glucose levels higher than normal but not yet high enough to be diagnosed as diabetes. Every year an estimated 63,000 individuals are diagnosed in Pennsylvania with diabetes, including a dramatic increase in the incidence of type 1 diabetes. Diabetes is the seventh-leading cause in death in Pennsylvania.
Contacts: Vicki Wilken 717-787-1349