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Teaching the differences between type 1 and type 2 diabetes


Clinicians across Northwell Health partnered with the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation (JDRF) for the health system's fifth annual Know the Difference Day on June 7 to educate staff and hospital visitors about type 1 and type 2 diabetes.

Led by diabetes educators, nurses and physicians, the event raised awareness about the differences between the two types of diabetes, those affected by the disease and treatments available to help manage the disease.

Approximately 1.25 million Americans have type 1 diabetes, which is caused by an autoimmune disease. People with type 1 diabetes cannot produce insulin and experience episodes of low blood sugar. Often diagnosed in children, teenagers or young adults, people can develop type 1 diabetes at any age. People with type 1 require insulin through multiple daily injections or infusion through insulin pumps.

Currently, 27 million Americans are diagnosed with type 2 diabetes and are insulin resistant. The causes of the disease are tied to metabolism and genetic susceptibility. Type 2 diabetes can be prevented or delayed through dietary modifications, exercise and oral medicines. In addition, about 79 million American adults age 20 and older have prediabetes, a condition when blood sugar levels are higher than normal but not high enough to be diagnosed as type 2 diabetes.

On hand at Zucker Hillside Hospital during the education day was Vincent Maltese, 18, a JDRF ambassador who was diagnosed with type 1 diabetes at age 14. "I was overwhelmed when I was diagnosed as a freshman in high school because diabetes did not run in my family," said Mr. Maltese. "It was a huge thing for a young kid to deal with and I had to put an analytical lens on the food I ate, measuring and calculating my meals and using an insulin pen."

Mr. Maltese a Wantagh resident and rising sophomore at Villanova University said he is now using an insulin pump to help manage the disease and can estimate food portions by eye. "Diabetes is part of my life and I wanted to share my experience with other teens and help them with the emotional side of having the disease." Mr. Maltese said. Active with the JDRF, Mr. Maltese was treated at Cohen Children's Medical Center and now receives care at North Shore University Hospital (NSUH).

Marie Rancy, RN and certified diabetes educator (CDE) at Zucker Hillside Hospital (ZHH), served as the chair of the health system's diabetes education event and coordinated diabetes awareness activities at ZHH. "I do my job with passion," Ms. Rancy said, who explained that she recently got credentialed as a CDE. "With patients, I review their diet, medication and other issues. I also help educate staff about the differences between type 1 and type 2 diabetes because management is very different."

As part of the systemwide event, the Department of Medicine at NSUH telecasted Grand Rounds with Grazia Aleppo, MD, an endocrinologist at Northwestern University, which focused on continuous glucose monitoring. The talk was followed by a panel discussion with Dr. Aleppo and two JDRF ambassadors -- one who discussed living with diabetes as a teenager and the other as an adult diagnosed with the disease at age 40.

About Northwell Health
Northwell Health is New York State's largest health care provider and private employer, with 23 hospitals, 665 outpatient facilities and nearly 15,000 affiliated physicians. We care for over two million people annually in the New York metro area and beyond, thanks to philanthropic support from our communities. Our 66,000 employees – 15,000-plus nurses and 4,000 employed doctors, including members of Northwell Health Physician Partners – are working to change health care for the better. We're making breakthroughs in medicine at the Feinstein Institute for Medical Research. We're training the next generation of medical professionals at the visionary Donald and Barbara Zucker School of Medicine at Hofstra/Northwell and the Hofstra Northwell School of Graduate Nursing and Physician Assistant Studies. For information on our more than 100 medical specialties, visit

Betty Olt
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