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Addressing the Diabetes Epidemic: Partnering with Patients on Self-Management Strategies

Addressing the Diabetes Epidemic: Partnering with Patients on Self-Management Strategies

Whether or not you or someone you care about has been impacted by it, diabetes is something everyone should know about. It’s called the silent killer, because millions of people unknowingly have prediabetes or have undiagnosed diabetes since early symptoms can be hard to spot. The statistics on this page show diabetes is a primary health concern increasing at epidemic rates. Consistent with Washington Hospital’s mission, our robust diabetes program offers comprehensive inpatient and outpatient diabetes care, including education and support services to all local residents.

Diabetes is a chronic condition that causes higher than normal blood sugar (glucose) levels. It occurs when the body cannot make or effectively use its own insulin. About 5% of people with diabetes have type 1, also called insulin-dependent diabetes, and 90% have type 2 diabetes which can often be managed with diet and exercise. The third type, gestational diabetes, is diagnosed during pregnancy. Diabetes is associated with increased risk of heart disease, stroke, high blood pressure and neuropathy.

“Diabetes is a complex disease that can result in serious health conditions when not properly managed, but the bigger problem is, it’s only getting worse,” explains Washington Township Medical Foundation endocrinologist and the Hospital’s Medical Director of the Diabetes Program, Prasad Katta, MD, “Along with increased obesity, we are seeing soaring cases of type 2 diabetes not only in adults, but also adolescents engaged in a more sedentary lifestyle.”


People with diabetes regularly arrive at Washington Hospital’s Emergency Department with either very high glucose levels (hyperglycemia); lack of insulin and low glucose levels (hypoglycemia); or diabetic ketoacidosis which causes toxic levels of acidity in the blood, and other conditions, exacerbated by inadequate blood sugar management. Because diabetes impacts the healing process, infections, post-surgery wounds and other conditions are affected.

Patients in the Hospital with diabetes receive care from a multidisciplinary diabetes team. Depending on their condition, this may include endocrinologists, pharmacists, specialized nurses, nutritionists, diabetes educators and case managers who work with each diabetes inpatient. The goal of the program is to provide diabetes care to inpatients across all areas of patient care, from the day they arrive until the day they are discharged.

Washington Hospital is on the path to achieve Joint Commission Advanced Certification in Inpatient Diabetes Care — a distinction held by fewer than 2% of U.S. hospitals. “While we already have a strong diabetes program in place, Joint Commission certification will take it to the highest level, assuring we are consistently in compliance with national standards and using the latest evidence-based clinical guidelines to optimize care for our patients with diabetes,” says Dr. Katta.


Education and support empower patients to better manage diabetes, avoid complications, and achieve optimal health — physically and emotionally. Diabetes education can help people prevent, delay or reverse complications through effective self-management. With a physician referral, community members can benefit from person-based education to develop individualized goals and a plan to achieve those goals. This program is certified by the American Diabetes Association and includes one-on-one counseling, education classes, a support group, meeting with a registered dietitian, and lots of emotional support. Call the Washington Outpatient Diabetes Center at 510.818.6556 or go to to learn more.