Hoping to Prevent Diabetes? Send A Text Message

POTTSTOWN PA – Diabetes, a disease related to blood sugar levels that can damage several vital organs, is “skyrocketing” among Pennsylvania’s Black and Hispanic residents, two health care organizations said Monday (Aug. 22, 2022) in a joint report. Joined by a Pottstown-based family medical practice, they’ve begun a campaign to make more people aware of the risks and prevent illness.

To potentially improve their health, residents of Montgomery, Berks and Chester counties can just send a text message.

The Health Promotion Council, headquartered in Philadelphia, and the National Association of Chronic Disease Directors launched what they called the “Make a Choice for a Healthier Life” campaign. It’s designed to ensure those at high risk can quickly get “life-saving information about type 2 diabetes prevention.” Pottstown Medical Specialists Inc. (PMSI) is among participating health care providers.

Those who want to know if they are at risk for type 2 diabetes, the most common form of the disease, can text the word “TODAY” to 600400 (textea HOY al 600400) and answer a few quick questions to get started. Those whose answers indicate a higher risk will be referred to a national diabetes prevention program in their area. PMSI – with offices in Pottstown, Lower Pottsgrove, Stowe, Collegeville, Royersford, and Boyertown – operates virtual programs monthly.

All Pennsylvanians are encouraged to be screened. The current campaign is primarily focused on Black and Hispanic residents age 18 and older in several of the state’s metropolitan areas who are at risk for prediabetes. It’s a serious condition that can lead to diabetes, but can be reversed if identified early and addressed.

Lifestyle changes, including eating healthy, getting more physical activity, and reducing stress, are key to keeping diabetes under control, experts said. They estimate that about 96 million adults nationwide are living with prediabetes, and most don’t know it. The campaign aims to increase health accessibility and literacy to benefit a million high-risk Black and Hispanic residents in the state.

Black adults are nearly twice as likely as White adults to develop type 2 diabetes, studies show. Hispanic adults also have a higher likelihood of developing type 2 diabetes, at a younger age, and experience higher rates of serious complications.

The “Make a Choice for a Healthier Life” campaign runs through Oct. 2. For more information on diabetes prevention programs available locally, call or e-mail PMSI’s diabetes education team members Christopher Yocom at 484-252-3310 and cyocom@pmsiforlife.com; Amanda Kulp at 484-318-6562 and akulp@pmsiforlife.com; Faith Schlegel at 484-252-1589 and fschlegel@pmsiforlife.com; and Debbie Zlomek at 484-318-0566 and dzlomek@pmsiforlife.com

Photo by Andrew Lozovyi via Deposit Photos, used under license