Diabetes, knowing more can save your life!


By Marina Woodard

Diabetes is a condition when the body’s inability to convert food into energy resulted from the pancreas failure to produce enough or any insulin. Over time, the high blood sugar (glucose) levels caused by the condition can lead to several health problems and complications. According to the statistics provided by the American Diabetes Association and Centers for Diseases Control and Prevention (CDC), 29.1 million people or 9.3% population have diabetes (21 million diagnosed, and 8.1 million undiagnosed). Millions more are at great risk of developing the condition. Further, diabetes was the seventh leading cause of death in United States in 2013.

There are three types of diabetes: Type 1, Type 2 and Gestational.

  • Type 1: This type, also known as Juvenile diabetes, is usually diagnosed in children and young adults. This is a form of diabetes where the body’s pancreas produces little to no insulin that the body needs to break down sugar to survive, resulting in increase of high blood sugar levels over a prolonged period. The cause to this condition is still unknown. People with type 1 diabetes often develop autoimmune system disorders such as thyroid and gastrointestinal diseases. Treatment of type 1 diabetes requires daily injections of insulin. Insulin cannot be administered orally.
  • Type 2: This type, also called adult-onset or noninsulin-dependent diabetes, is the most common form of diabetes that affects the way your body metabolizes sugar (glucose). Your body uses sugar as a source of fuel. Unlike type 1, type 2 diabetics produce insulin; however the pancreas either does not secrete enough or the body is resistance to the insulin produced (insulin resistance), which causes the glucose level to rise higher than normal. This is also known as hyperglycemia (high blood sugar). The cause can be hereditary-, lifestyle, excessive body weight and lack of exercise. Over time, this condition can cause health problems such as blindness and glaucoma, foot complications, skin problems, high blood pressures, heart problems, nerve damage and many more. Treatment of type 2 diabetes varies including diet, oral medication and perhaps insulin.
  • Gestational: Develops and diagnosed during late pregnancy and often occurs to women who have no prior history of diabetes. The gestational diabetes is caused by the malfunctioning of insulin production due to the presence of placenta that releases the hormone to help the baby grow. This makes it harder for the body to produce or use insulin (insulin resistance). The risk factors include obesity, history of gestational diabetes in a previous pregnancy, pre-diabetes, ethnicity, parent or sibling with type 2 diabetes, history of polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS), and previous high weight birth of over 9 lbs. Gestational diabetes may increase the risk of C-section delivery due to a larger than normal fetus, pre-eclampsia, depression and the risk of developing type 2 diabetes later in life.

Diabetes Management and Awareness: Learn the symptoms since diabetes (especially type 2) may often go undiagnosed or simply mistaken for other common illnesses. Symptoms of diabetes include extreme thirst, frequent urination, sudden weight lost, increased appetite, sudden vision change and etc. Knowing the signs and early stages of diabetes can save your life or the life of your loved ones. There is no cure for diabetes, but it can be managed with diet, exercise and medicine. Living with diabetes can be frustrating and overwhelming, but it can be managed with proper care from doctors as well as your good management plan.

To learn more about diabetes, go to America Diabetes Association at www.diabetes.org or for public employees diabetes prevention resources go to HCA Public Employees Benefits Diabetes Prevention.

The ICSEW toiletries drive is a huge success

By: Jennifer Masterson

Thanks to all who participated in the ICSEW toiletries drive. The YWCA’s Other Bank estimates that state agencies donated nearly $8,500 in products. Check it out!


Products distributed by The Other Bank cannot be purchased with food stamps and are not available at food banks, yet they are essential for maintaining health. The Other Bank offers assistance to over 24,000 individuals every year. One-third of their clients are younger than 13 and half of these children are under the age of 5.  Their  clients are also elderly, disabled, homeless, unemployed, or are just struggling the make ends meet.

If you are interested in making further donations of supplies or money to the Other Bank, here is their website. They would very much appreciate your support.

Here’s a tally of donations, by agency:

Agency Total Donation

(Cash and Goods)

DOT HQ Olympia $1,294.10
Dept. Of Enterprise Services $1,221.35
Dept Of Ecology $1,205.45
Department Of Corrections $619.45
Office of the Insurance Commissioner $541.75
Office of Financial Management $527.20
WA State Parks and Recreation Commission $497.00
Department Of Health $455.55
Labor and Industries $379.60
WA Tech $362.65
Board Of Industrial Insurance Appeals $355.00
Dept. of Commerce $304.25
Financial Institution $265.75
Washington State Investment Board $137.45
Governor’s Office $91.50
Public Employment Relations Commission $74.00
Office Of Superintendent Of Public Instruction $32.00
ICSEW Conference $30.20
Department of Retirement Systems $20.00

Safety tips for women during the holiday shopping season

By: Kate Sherrer

The smell of pumpkin spiced lattes, cinnamon scented pine cones and holiday treats are in the air!

With the holiday shopping season in full-swing, it is important to remember not everyone at or around the shopping centers are there in good holiday spirit. Some people have bad intentions to take advantage of shoppers who are caught up in the busyness of the holiday activities.

It doesn’t matter where you live or shop or pump your gas, crime happens. We are often most vulnerable when we are comfortable in our local neighborhood grocery stores or shopping malls.

For most of us, these are great reminders, but some of the expert safety tips might be new to you:

  • Be aware of your surroundings inside and outside of the stores – which means put your senses on alert – be able to hear and see what is going on around you.
  • Secure your belonging and purse. Use the kid shopping cart safety straps to ‘lock’ your purse to the cart. Make sure the pockets on your purse are closed or zipped up. If your attention is distracted and your purse is open, someone could easily grab your wallet without you noticing until you check-out.
  • Watch out for suspicious people that might be watching you. We have all had that gut-feeling of being watched at some point in our lives. Don’t ignore that sense, look around, if you aren’t feeling safe then ask a security guard to walk you to your car.
  • Park in a well-lit area and remember where you parked. Use store buildings or signs or parking spot numbers to help you remember exactly where you parked.
  • Have your keys ready to unlock the car prior to leaving the store. You can also lace your keys through your fingers as a potential weapon if you are approached in a parking lot and need to defend yourself.
  • Once inside your car, lock the car doors immediately.
  • At gas stations, lock the doors of the vehicle while pumping gas. Too many times, victims have been fumbling with their payment and gas pump at the station, while a criminal easily opens the passenger door to grab your purse. Putting your purse on the floor on the driver’s side (or gas tank side) and locking the door will help prevent this from happening to you.Here are some articles with more quick tips on keeping you safe this holiday season:The Personal Safety Training group: Holiday Shopping. Some Personal Safety Tips http://powertochange.com/life/personalsafetytips/WKYT – Lexington, KY news website http://www.kevincoffey.com/mall/mall_safety_tips_for_the_holiday_season.htm
  • Corporate Travel Safety: Mall Safety During the Holidays
  • http://www.wkyt.com/content/news/Holiday-shopping-safety-tips-from-Lexington-Police-402477965.html
  • Top 10 Safety Tips for Women
  • http://www.personalsafetygroup.com/2010/11/holiday-shopping-personal-safety-tips/

Got life insurance?

The PEBB Program gives members a one-time “do-over” to sign up for life insurance

MetLife will partner with the PEBB Program as the new life insurance carrier starting Jan. 1, 2017. During this transition, you can enroll in or increase your life insurance coverage during MetLife’s special, one-time open enrollment opportunity from Nov. 1-30, 2016.

This is an exciting opportunity to enroll in or increase your optional life insurance without answering health questions and/or having a medical exam. Life insurance for you and your dependents is guaranteed up to certain amounts, even if you’ve been turned down before due to health reasons.

Employee Basic Life Insurance increases from $25,000 to $35,000 at no cost to you. You do not need to take action to increase this coverage; it will increase automatically on Jan. 1, 2017. Employee Basic Accidental Death and Dismemberment (AD&D) Insurance remains at $5,000 at no cost to you.

In late October, MetLife will mail an enrollment packet to you. You can also create an account on MetLife’s MyBenefits portal at http://www.mybenefits.metlife.com/wapebb starting Nov. 1, 2016. To take advantage of this special, one-time enrollment opportunity, MetLife must receive your completed enrollment form or your online elections by Nov. 30, 2016.

For more information on your benefits check out the PEBB home page or the latest issue of the For Your Benefit State/Higher-Education Edition.

Source: HCA, Public Employees Benefits Board Program

Eligible PEBB members: SmartHealth is offering a chance to win tickets to a Seahawks game!


The SmartHealth program is giving away Seahawks tickets!  Two lucky winners will each receive two tickets to the Seattle Seahawks vs. Carolina Panthers game at CenturyLink Field in Seattle on December 4, 2016. To be automatically entered into the drawing, eligible PEBB Program subscribers must complete the following steps by September 30, 2016:

  1. Visit www.smarthealth.hca.wa.gov and select Get started.
  2. Complete the SmartHealth Well-being Assessment.
    If you don’t have Internet access, you can complete the Well-being Assessment by phone (1-855-750-8866), Monday through Friday, 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. Pacific Time.
  3. Join and complete activities to earn total 2,000 points.

Winners will be announced the week of October 3–7, 2016. Eligible PEBB Program subscribers can complete the following SmartHealth activities and more to reach 2,000 points:

  • Mindful Eating. Be mindful during meals for weight control.
  • The Magic Hour. Unplug from technology up to an hour before bed for better sleep.
  • Protect Your Back. Restore your back with strength-training exercises and by stretching regularly.
  • Blast Fat Fast. Combine cardio and strength training for better heart health.

*For drawing details and rules, visit www.hca.wa.gov/pebb.

Did you know you can get Healthy Benefits from Pokemon Go?


Pokémon Go has been receiving lots of media attention recently. But what is this game doing for players’ health? It’s reasonable to believe a game based off of physical movement is getting people up and moving, but is there more? We often overlook additional health factors that are more than surface deep. Pokémon Go is helping people with invisible illnesses, such as social disorders, anxiety, or depression. Take a look at the article “Pokemon Go Reportedly Helping People’s Mental Health, Depression” written by John M. Grohol, Psy.D. and published by PsychCentral.com.

Remember to stay safe while playing with some helpful tips from these two articles:

Play ‘Pokemon Go’ Without Landing in the ER

10 ‘Pokemon Go’ Real World Dangers to Avoid



SmartHealth App now available for iPhone!


Take SmartHealth with you wherever you go this summer.

The Limeade iPhone app is now available for SmartHealth. Download it today! You can explore, join and track your activities on the go — and you’ll earn 100 points when you join the Go Mobile activity.

Here’s how to download the Limeade app:

  1. Open the iOS app store on your iPhone
  2. Search for “Limeade” and download
  3. Open the app and enter the program code: SmartHealth
  4. Login with your username (or email address) and password

Android users: you can still earn 100 points for logging into SmartHealth on your phone’s web browser. Click here to add the browser to your phone’s homepage. Then, claim your points through the Go Mobile activity tile.

It’s Women’s Health Week & and TODAY is our Annual Health and Wellness Fair

Wednesday, May 11th is our Annual Health & Wellness Fair: Stepping Stones to a Healthier You!

Please join us from 11:00-1:00p at Labor & Industries, 7273 Linderson Way SW, Tumwater.

There will be 48 area vendors hosting information booths where attendees will have access to free health screenings, informative presentations, and great prize giveaways!  Vendors will cover a variety of health and wellness topics including, personal health, family assistance, eye care, financial planning, time management, chair massage, fitness and exercise, nutrition, and garden raised food, just to name a few.

Come and learn how small steps can lead to ‘stepping stones’ for a healthier you!

To view Governor Inslee’s proclamation click here ICSEW health fair flyer