top of page

Atrium Health Navicent Offers Help for Patients Managing Diabetes


Nurse with patient.

After Sidney Harvey lost his leg due to complications from diabetes, he struggled to find affordable medication and support with managing his condition. Once he was referred to the Healthy Communities Diabetes Disease Management Program at Atrium Health Navicent, he said he finally felt seen.


“Everyone was so helpful. They gave me so many good recommendations with where to get my meds, with rehab and other programs that could help me,” said Harvey, a Macon resident. “I feel like they really tried to help me.”


In honor of American Diabetes Month, Atrium Health Navicent wants to spread the word about the importance of managing diabetes and how the Healthy Communities Diabetes Disease Management Program can help.


Diabetes is a metabolic disease in which the body is unable to produce enough insulin to regulate glucose levels in the bloodstream. It affects an estimated 537 million people worldwide.


If left untreated, diabetes can lead to serious and life-threatening conditions including blindness, heart attack, stroke, kidney disease and amputation. It is the seventh leading cause of death in the United States.


“It is recommended to have a fasting glucose or hemoglobin A1c test performed to screen for diabetes. Patients with diabetes should have their A1c level monitored every three to six months depending on how well the condition is managed. It is important to take prescribed medications and sustain an appropriate diet in addition to good oral care and stress management,” said Dr. Monique Davis-Smith, Atrium Health Navicent’s Family Medicine Residency Program director and a primary care physician at Atrium Health Navicent Primary Care West Macon.


According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), 37.3 million Americans have diabetes, and 1 in 5 of them don’t know they have it. About 96 million U.S. adults have prediabetes, and in the last 20 years, the number of adults diagnosed with diabetes has more than doubled as the American population has aged and become more overweight or obese.


In central Georgia, 17.2 percent of adults have reported being diagnosed with diabetes, a figure that’s well above the state and national percentages.


Atrium Health Navicent provides support for individuals diagnosed with diabetes, like Harvey, through the Healthy Communities Diabetes Disease Management Program, which helps patients who are experiencing more frequent hospital readmissions and emergency room visits related to diabetes.


The patients served in this program are considered high risk, generally have other underlying health conditions, need higher levels of care and struggle with socio-economic barriers to receiving health care, such as having low income or transportation difficulties. Patients may be referred to the Food as Medicine Market, which operates not just as a food pantry, but as a food farmacy, where individuals facing food insecurity can also receive in-person nutrition advice.


Harvey said one of the major struggles in managing his diabetes was knowing what, when and how much to eat. The former 10-hour shift worker said he never liked eating at work, so he’d just drink juice all day, followed by one big meal in the evenings.


“Healthy Communities helped me with my diet and learning the breakdown of the three meals a day and a healthy snack. I plan my meals now, and that really gives me something to look forward to,” he said.


The program also has helped him get back into an exercise routine, which is something he used to love when he was on the fencing team in college and coaching youth baseball.


“It really helped with my exercise. The rehab program showed me exercises I can do, and now I can even exercise while I watch TV,” Harvey said. “It was nice to also meet other people like me. I tell you, you think you’ve got it bad with losing one leg until you meet someone who lost both legs. There’s a way to always think positive about your situation, because at least you’re still living to have another.”


Implemented in Bibb County in 2022, the program expanded in spring 2023 to include patients in Baldwin and Peach counties. In the program’s first year, 750 diabetes patients received life-changing assistance, which successfully reduced the number of subsequent admissions to the hospital for these patients.


Atrium Health Navicent Diabetes Healthways also provides comprehensive education programs for people of all ages with diabetes. All programs are taught by clinicians specializing in the field of diabetes management, including Certified Diabetes Care and Education Specialists (CDCES). The staff participates in community education and support groups as well as pediatric diabetes camps.


Learn more about Healthy Communities by calling 478-633- 5623. For more information about Atrium Health Navicent Diabetes Healthways, call 478-633-1531. To find a doctor, visit www.NavicentHealth.org and click “Find A Doctor.”

Comments


bottom of page