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Health Bulletin Fall 2008

The Truth about Diabetes

With almost 1 in 10 people in the U.S. with diabetes, most of us know someone with the disease. But do you know what it is?


What is Diabetes?

Diabetes is when the body does not make or use enough insulin (a hormone). Insulin helps the body change sugar (or glucose) to energy your body needs.

Myth: Diabetes is caused by eating sweets. Not true. Eating sweets does not cause diabetes. However, being overweight and inactive can make you more likely to have diabetes. The most common type of diabetes (Type 2) can be prevented or delayed by a healthy lifestyle.

Myth: Diabetes only affects your blood. Not true. Diabetes can affect almost all parts of your body. Diabetes can lead to other problems if it is not kept under control. It can lead to early heart disease or stroke, vision problems, kidney damage and loss of feet or toes. These things are less likely to happen if you can keep your blood sugar or glucose numbers in a normal range (80-120).

Myth: If I have diabetes, I can never be healthy. Not true. The good news is that people with diabetes can lead a healthy life by eating healthy, taking their medication, exercising, not being overweight and seeing their health care provider.

Talk to your health care provider if diabetes runs in your family, or you notice:

  • Blurred vision
  • Extreme thirst
  • Frequent urination
  • Unexplained weight loss
  • Weakness or tiredness

For more information about diabetes go to the American Diabetes Association website

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Flu Season is Coming… Habits to Keep You Healthy

Snort. Sniffle. Sneeze. Getting a cold or the flu (influenza) is never fun or healthy. It makes us feel achy and we have to miss school, work and other important things.

The bad news is there is no good cure for a cold or the flu. The good news is there are a lot of things we can do to keep from getting sick in the first place.

Follow these simple tips to stay healthy all year long.
  • Cover your cough.
    Cover your mouth and nose when you sneeze or cough. Use a tissue, then throw the tissue away, or sneeze into your sleeve.
  • Wash your hands.
    Hand washing is the number one way to keep from spreading disease. Wash with soap and water or use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer. Remember, clean hands save lives!
  • Stay home when you are sick.
    If you do get sick, don’t spread it to others. Avoid being close to other people. If possible, stay home from work, school, and errands when you are sick. Also, if you take care of yourself, you will get better sooner.
  • Get your flu shot.
    The best way to prevent the flu is by getting the flu shot every year. October or November is the best time to get the flu shot, but you can still get it in December or later.

To find a community flu clinic near you, call the hotline at 215-685-6458 or visit our Fighting the Flu page.


New Health Information Card

Do you have a special medical need? Are you under the care of a doctor for any reason? You should have a Health Information Card to carry in an emergency.

The PDPH Health Information Card will help you keep track of:
  • Important health information
  • Medicines
  • Emergency contact information
  • Any special needs
  • Any special supplies

In an emergency, there is important information that you should have on hand. Ask for a Health Information Card from your doctor.