St. Anthony Community Hospital’s Center for Diabetes offers educational classes

| 07 Feb 2012 | 03:14

WARWICK — In less than one year Steve Blehl of Milford, Pa., who has Type 2 Diabetes, lost 115 pounds and through proper diet and mild exercise, has managed to take control of the disease.

Along with support at home Blehl credits his success to his instructors and the courses they taught in the Diabetes Center at St. Anthony Community Hospital.

“They were fabulous,” he said. “They gave me the right training and the right tools. I never thought I would change my lifestyle. Now I can’t imagine living differently.”

The Diabetes Center at St. Anthony Community Hospital offers a series of classes for all patients who have been recently diagnosed with diabetes or those who demonstrate poorly controlled diets. During group or individual sessions, the clinical instructors offer initial assessment, emotional support and will seek to help patients achieve a better understanding of the disease. They will show their patients how to live a normal and productive life with diabetes and how to control the disease through diet and exercise.

‘Stress eating’ Blehl, who last spring weighed a much as 370 pounds, blames much of his weight gain on “stress eating,” a habit he developed before he retired from a stressful job as a sergeant in the Bergen County, N.J, Police Department.

His Hemoglobin A1c test, an average of blood sugar control over a six- to twelve-week period, was 13.2 percent.

Normal is between 4 and 6 percent

Bhehl’s most recent test result was 5.5 per cent and he is off all medication.

“I feel better than I have felt in 20 years,” said Blehl. “I’ve been given a second chance at life.”

In order to help limit his daily food intake to 2,000 calories Blehl employs portion control strategies such as using small plates and salad forks. And to help keep in shape he takes the stairs instead of the elevator and parks his car at the far end of the shopping plaza.

“Losing weight and keeping it off starts within you,” said Certified Diabetes Educator Lourdes Braadt, RN, CDE. “You have to have the desire then muster up the will power and keep it alive every day. Eating less and moving more goes without saying. The results you are looking for will follow. But don’t expect it overnight. Be patient. At our program we provide you with information regarding healthy eating and exercise as well as encouragement and motivation to help you in your life long journey to good health.”

Additional information about the Diabetes Center is available by calling 845-987-5168 or at