Diabetes is one of the leading causes of death in the United States. Brunswick County's Health Department is taking steps to fight the disease in our area. Representatives from the Brunswick County Health Department are mapping out a health plan for diabetes patients. A map they hope will guide their patients to better health. Diabetes program administrator Fred Michael said, "The purpose of what we are trying to do is increase the access to care so the people with diabetes will have a place to come to get education and to control their diabetes." Michael said controlling the disease is key. Patients are referred to the education program by their doctors. The program then provides patients with information on how to manage their diet, choose the right medications, and to monitor their blood sugar. Brunswick County Health Director Don Yousey said, "People will have a place to take care of themselves and not have this early onset of kidney disease, blindness, amputations -- all the other things that go along with diabetes if you don't take care of yourself." The American Diabetes Association says about seven percent of the American population suffer from diabetes. Around eight percent of Brunswick County residents have the disease. That is why health officials asked the American Diabetes Association for help in creating the program. Four other North Carolina counties also got on board. Public health nurse, Diana Jones says the program was created just in time. "Even though the county is large, I think with the patients having this availability locally and not traveling out of the county, hopefully we will reach more people," said Jones. Diabetes is the nation's sixth leading cause of death behind heart disease, cancer, and stroke.
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