Whittier Street Health Center Provides Knowledge and Resources to those with Diabetes

  • November 15, 2021

Authored by Chigoziri Ojuka, NP, Director of Whittier Street Health Center Satellite Clinic

Diabetes is a chronic, progressive disease that presents many complications and has a higher prevalence nationally among people from certain racial/ethnic groups and rural regions. According to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention, the reported diagnosis’ of diabetes in the United States (US) have been increasing. Statistics shows that about 34.2 million people have diabetes, which is about 10.5% of the US population. While 26.9 million people have been diagnosed with diabetes, roughly 7.3 million cases go undiagnosed. The numbers are indeed staggering.

Several pathogenic processes are involved in developing diabetes. These processes range from autoimmune destruction of beta-cells of the pancreas causing insulin deficiency (Type 1) to abnormalities that result in resistance to insulin action (Type 2). Type 2 diabetes mellitus (T2DM) accounts for about 90-95% of people diagnosed with diabetes. It is an increasing global health problem that is closely linked to the upsurge in obesity. About 90% of Type 2 diabetes is attributable to excess weight and its associated metabolic syndrome.

Individuals with Type 2 are also at high risk for developing diabetes complications which includes: microvascular complications {such as retinopathy, end-stage renal disease (ESRD) and neuropathy along with lower extremity amputations (LEA)} and macrovascular complications (such as coronary artery disease (CAD), stroke and peripheral vascular diseases). This is primarily due to hyperglycemia and individual components of the insulin resistance syndrome. Environmental factors (such as, unhealthy diet, sedentary lifestyle, and obesity) and genetic factors contribute to the multiple pathophysiological disturbances that cause impaired glucose homeostasis in Type 2.

How would you know you have diabetes?

The Common symptoms of diabetes include:

  • Frequently needing to urinate
  • Feeling very thirsty
  • Feeling very hungry
  • Feeling very tired
  • Blurry vision
  • Cuts/bruises that are slow to heal
  • Weight loss—unexplained (Type 1)
  • Tingling, pain, or numbness in the hands/feet (Type 2)

Receiving a diabetes diagnosis can be frightening to some people, but know that this diagnosis does not have to stop you from living a healthy life. It is the knowledge deficit of the impact that lifestyle has on health outcomes, that leads to the difficulties many people have with making necessary changes to improve their health.

Diabetes Educational Clinic at WSHC:

Whittier Street Health Center provides many support services to low-income and ethnically diverse populations who are burdened with different chronic diseases. One of these services is the Diabetes Educational Group which is open to those who are newly diagnosed, have been battling diabetes for a while, those with prediabetes and those who are helping loved ones with diabetes. Classes are held in English and Spanish.

The Group focuses on helping individuals to:

  • Attain individualized glycemic, blood pressure, and lipid goals
  • Achieve and maintain body weight goals
  • Delay or prevent the complications of diabetes
  • Maintain the pleasure of eating by providing positive messages about food choices.
  • Learn how to eat out and still eat healthy
  • Learn which foods contain carbohydrates

The educational group is designed to help support and educate individuals on how to effectively reach their diabetes treatment goals. Individuals gain a deeper understanding of how they can live a healthier life with all the tools and health tips they need. The group uses an integrated Family Medicine and Behavioral Health model which facilitates/promotes and provide a mutual aid support among group participants.

For the Diabetes Clinic at our Satellite Clinic at 278 Blue Hill Avenue, please call (617)-858-2550

A note about Whittier and COVID-19

Due to the ongoing COVID-19 outbreak in our area, we ask all clients and patients to call ahead before coming to any of our sites. We are working to take care of most clients/patients via phone/video encounter so we can meet your ongoing healthcare needs. This is for your safety and so we can provide the highest quality of care to you while following CDC guidance for COVID-19. Please call 617-427-1000 for any questions or concerns.

Whittier will provide COVID-19 testing from 10 am to 4 pm on Monday to Friday. Following CDC guidance, we recommend testing if you have a fever AND one of the following three symptoms: cough OR shortness of breath OR sore throat. Please bring your picture identification and your insurance card (if you have insurance).