Clinic/Patient: 239.529.2255 Development Office: 239.261.6600

88 12th Street North Suite 100, Naples, FL 34102

Diabetic Awareness Month – by Shirliann Kaskie

November is American Diabetes month but the Neighborhood Health Clinic puts a focus on diabetes every month of the year.

Adults with diabetes have heart disease death rates about 2 to 4 times higher than adults without diabetes. The risk for stroke is also 2 to 4 times higher for them. Blindness, kidney disease, high blood pressure, neuropathy, and amputation are among the medial complications resulting from the disease. Continued treatment of the disease is a matter of life or death.

“Having diabetes affects everything about me and my personality was not really consistent. With help from the Clinic I have my diabetes under control. That has really helped me at work,” states Michael, a diabetic patient at the Neighborhood Health Clinic.

Learning how to live with the disease is vital to surviving it. Out-of-control diabetes is life threatening. The Neighborhood Health Clinic stresses that education is the key to managing the disease. Individuals can continue to live normal lives once they learn how to keep the glucose level in their body under control. The Clinic offers their diabetic patients an opportunity to learn more about their disease and take charge of their health through the Diabetic Self Management Class.

This educational program is held every month for two hours. Patients can come to as many classes as necessary to learn how to manage the disease. All aspects to successfully managing the disease are covered including diet, nutrition, exercise, medication, foot and eye care and how to maintain a normal glucose level. At the end of each class new participants are given a gift basket containing basic items such as a glucose meter, a pair of socks, monthly test strips, and other items and information necessary to managing diabetes.

According to the American Diabetes Association, 8.3% of the population in the United States has diabetes. Last year 1.9 million new cases of the disease were diagnosed in people aged 20 and older. Presently the Clinic estimates 25% patients seen are diabetic.

According to the CDC, medical expenses for people with diabetes are more than two times higher than for people without diabetes and the estimated cost for treatment is over $200 billion in the United States. For a $20 contribution, the uninsured diabetic patients at the Clinic receive their office visits with primary and specialty physicians along with the ordered medications and the educational program.

The diabetes program is funded through donations – at the Neighborhood Health Clinic 91 cents of every dollar goes directly to patient services.