Local clinic helping Iowans with diabetes overcome barriers caused by pandemic

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WEST DES MOINES, Iowa — The CDC reports that 40% of Americans who’ve died from COVID-19 were also diabetic. An Indianola native with Type 2 diabetes, Layla Cosman, isn’t surprised by this, as she’s experienced and seen what the pandemic has done to those with the disease.

“The pandemic caused a lot of stress and for diabetics that really can change your blood sugar and doesn’t matter what you’re doing as far as treatment for your diabetes. It just tends to feel like it’s not in your control,” Cosman said. 

With those with diabetes are considered high risk for COVID-19,  Cosman was hesitant to do certain activities last year such as in and outdoor exercises and attending routine doctor visits. 

If Type 2 diabetes goes untreated, high blood sugar can cause complications such as kidney or eye damage and an increase in risk for heart disease or stroke.

Cosman has been going to Iowa Diabetes for five years. The clinic said once it saw a decline in patients coming in, it immediately transitioned to telehealth visits. 

Medical Director, Dr. Anuj Bhargava, said telehealth visits worked for patients better than expected. 

“It’s not like a heart doctor where you have to listen to the heart or lungs. We can just look at them, we can see the stress in their eyes, we can know about their diet, activity.  We have a Iowa diabetes portal where they can connect their devices so we can get a lot of information online,” Dr. Bhargava said. 

Financial barriers have been another struggle the pandemic has intensified for those with diabetes to keep up with medicine such as insulin. However, Dr. Bhargava said he’s seen an increase in programs offering assistance to those individuals.  

Here is a list of a few programs:

Extra Help with Medicare Prescription Drug Plan Costs

NovoCares Insulin Savings Program

LillyCare Savings Program

Valyou Insulin Savings Program 

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