Mike Stone just wants to be healthy and live a long life.
However, the Kellogg resident is overweight and has problems with diabetes. He knows the long-term consequences of morbid obesity and out of control blood sugars are big obstacles to those goals.
He’s working hard to change his body after years of struggling to lose weight.
“I am ramping up to go in the gastric bypass surgery program,” said Stone. “My blood sugars are under control now and I am doing good.”
Stone is like many people in the Silver Valley, struggling with diabetes and obesity, said Scott Gibbs, a Physician Assistant with Heritage Health. According to the Center for Disease Control, an estimated 10 percent of Idaho’s adult population has Type 2 Diabetes and another 9 percent have prediabetes.
“Our community is one of the poorest in the state of Idaho,” said Gibbs. “Like many other communities that suffer from a low socio-economic state of living, obesity and diabetes have become all too common. It’s not only a constant challenge for our citizens to try to overcome, but our local providers have to use a multi-pronged approached to battle these diseases.”
Regular exercise, a healthy diet, and the medications are used to treat patients who suffer from diabetes and heart disease.
Mike, who is on Medicaid, has been a Heritage Health patient since 2010, said the staff at the community health center has been very good to him.
“I like Heritage Health,” said Stone. “They make me feel warm and welcome, they’re friendly people.”
He believes the nonprofit community health center is a benefit to everyone in the Silver Valley.
“They’re a very good community organization,” said Stone. “If people have a health issue or a health question, they should go down and talk to them. They’ve helped me a lot. I have improved since I started going there.”
Heritage Health offers medical, dental, and mental health services. The nonprofit treats all age groups from pediatrics to adults and geriatrics and welcomes all members of the North Idaho community; whether they have Medicare, Medicaid, private insurance or are uninsured.
“We’re accepting new patients,” said Lynn Haughn, the Heritage Health Clinic Director in Kellogg. “We would love to see you.”