Diabetes has been described as a national epidemic. And in our community, the disease is widespread. It affects roughly one in four patients who visit Spartanburg Medical Center, according to diabetes educator Daphne Pittman.
Without proper care, these patients have an increased likelihood of returning to the hospital, and their overall prospects for long-term health are dim.
“Diabetes affects everything,” Pittman said.
Diabetes compounds other health problems, especially cardiovascular issues, she said.
Pittman encourages patients to become educated about how they can improve their health and care for their diabetes. She points them to the self-management classes conducted by staff with Medical Group of the Carolinas – Diabetes Education.
The class offer a one-on-one consultation for patients as well as group discussions about self-care and eating healthier on a budget.
On a Thursday afternoon in December, recently diagnosed patient Mary Ann Sharer took a nutrition class, where she learned about limiting sugars and carbohydrates.
It wasn’t necessarily what Sharer wanted to hear. She enjoys snacks and other high-carb foods, but she was ready to manage her diabetes through eating better.
“I eat terrible,” she said. “But I’ll make it – I’ll find a way.”
Sharer said her insurance covers the cost of the class. For those who do not have insurance and are unable to afford the course, Spartanburg Regional Foundation’s Diabetes Management Fund provides financial assistance. The fund may also be used to help patients who cannot afford blood glucose test strips or medicines.
Diabetes will likely remain a major public health issue for years to come. But with the proper approach, patients can lessen the impact of the disease on their overall well-being.
“It’s 99.9 percent a self-managed problem,” said diabetes education manager Erica Moore. “We are here to give patients the tools they need to better care for themselves.”