According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, diabetes is a group of diseases marked by high levels of blood glucose. It can lead to serious complications including heart disease, stroke, high blood pressure, blindness, kidney disease, amputation, and death. The CDC estimates the overall risk for death among diabetics is about twice that of people without diabetes.
The diabetic rate in Anderson County is nearly twice the national average. Consequently, diabetes is one of the most common diseases treated at the Anderson Free Clinic. Fifty-five percent of patients -more than 700 individuals- at the Free Clinic have been diagnosed with diabetes.
Although it is a serious disease, diabetes can be controlled. Depending on the severity, treatment options range from diet and exercise to regular insulin injections.
To aid patients in controlling their diabetes, the Free Clinic provides special metabolic clinics, diabetic education, and diabetic testing supplies at no charge.
Metabolic clinics are special clinics that help with patients who have at least two of the following symptoms: diabetes, high blood pressure, and high cholesterol. Most of the Free Clinic’s diabetic patients regularly attend a metabolic clinic. The Free Clinic tries to offer at least one metabolic clinic per month.
The Free Clinic provides diabetic education to better inform diabetic patients about their condition and ways to control or prevent it. In addition to providing educational materials at the clinic, patients can be referred to diabetic education classes presented by AnMed Health.
Monitoring and tracking blood sugar levels is an essential part of controlling diabetes. Many patients vary their insulin usage depending on their blood sugar level. To assist these patients, the Free Clinic provides glucometers and test strips to diabetic patients at no charge. This program was made possible through generous grants from several foundations and donations from individual donors.