Blue Ridge Free Clinic working to educate community members with diabetes, provide supplies

Published: Nov. 15, 2022 at 9:06 AM EST
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HARRISONBURG, Va. (WHSV) - November is National Diabetes Month and according to the Virginia Department of Health, over 700,000 people in the state live with the disease.

The Blue Ridge Free Clinic (BRFC) in Harrisonburg says it is the second most common chronic disease staff there treat after hypertension.

“We have a pretty extensive amount of teaching that goes on from: What does diabetes mean to you as a person? What kinds of things in your lifestyle you should try to do to make your diabetes under better control? And for patients who are taking medications or insulin, we want to make sure they understand what the medicines are for?,” Volunteer Director for BRFC and Family Nurse Practitioner Susan Adamson said.

Adamson says patients with the disease are also given all of the tools they need to maintain proper blood sugar, blood pressure, and glucose levels.

BRFC also uses resources to bridge the gap for patients who may not be able to afford treatment.

“It doesn’t do any good to diagnose somebody with diabetes if you can’t treat their diabetes. So we work really hard to raise funds to buy bridging medications and that’s one of the things we’re so grateful to the community. They have supported us being able to purchase insulin which is incredibly expensive until we can get someone enrolled in a medication assistance program, or get them enrolled in Medicaid if they’re eligible,” Adamson said.

Diabetes also impacts vision, and in some cases can eventually lead to blindness.

Adamson says BRFC also partners with ophthalmologists in the area who provide free eye exams and other preventive treatment for diabetes patients.