General Health

Gilmer County Health Department offers limited general health clinical services.  Gilmer County Health Department accepts all major insurances.  No client will be denied services due to an inability to pay.  Uninsured and under-insured clients will be charge according to a sliding fee scale based on income and family size.

Contact us at (304) 462-7351 or by e-mail for more information or to schedule an appointment.


Diabetes is a chronic (long-lasting) health condition that affects how your body turns food into energy.

Most of the food you eat is broken down into sugar (also called glucose) and released into your bloodstream.  When your blood sugar goes up, it signals your pancreas to release insulin.  Insulin acts like a key to let the blood sugar into your body’s cells for use as energy.

If you have diabetes, your body either doesn’t make enough insulin or can’t use the insulin it makes as well as it should.  When there isn’t enough insulin or cells stop responding to insulin, too much blood sugar stays in your bloodstream.  Over time, that can cause serious health problems, such as heart disease, vision loss, and kidney disease.

There isn’t a cure yet for diabetes, but losing weight, eating healthy food, and being active can really help.  Taking medicine as needed, getting diabetes self-management education and support, and keeping health care appointments can also reduce the impact of diabetes on your life.

There are three main types of diabetes: type 1, type 2, and gestational diabetes (diabetes while pregnant).

Type 1 Diabetes:

Type 1 diabetes is thought to be caused by an autoimmune reaction (the body attacks itself by mistake) that stops your body from making insulin.  Approximately 5-10% of the people who have diabetes have type 1.  Symptoms of type 1 diabetes often develop quickly.  It’s usually diagnosed in children, teens, and young adults. If you have type 1 diabetes, you’ll need to take insulin every day to survive.  Currently, no one knows how to prevent type 1 diabetes.

Type 2 Diabetes:

With type 2 diabetes, your body doesn’t use insulin well and can’t keep blood sugar at normal levels.  About 90-95% of people with diabetes have type 2.  It develops over many years and is usually diagnosed in adults (but more and more in children, teens, and young adults).  You may not notice any symptoms, so it’s important to get your blood sugar tested if you’re at risk.  Type 2 diabetes can be prevented or delayed with healthy lifestyle changes, such as losing weight, eating healthy food, and being active.

Gestational Diabetes:

Gestational diabetes develops in pregnant women who have never had diabetes.  If you have gestational diabetes, your baby could be at higher risk for health problems.  Gestational diabetes usually goes away after your baby is born but increases your risk for type 2 diabetes later in life.  Your baby is more likely to have obesity as a child or teen, and more likely to develop type 2 diabetes later in life too.


In the United States, 88 million adults—more than 1 in 3—have prediabetes.  What’s more, more than 80% of them don’t know they have it.  With prediabetes, blood sugar levels are higher than normal, but not high enough yet to be diagnosed as type 2 diabetes.  Prediabetes raises your risk for type 2 diabetes, heart disease, and stroke.  The good news is if you have prediabetes, a CDC-recognized lifestyle change program can help you take healthy steps to reverse it.

Heart Disease

The term “heart disease” refers to several types of heart conditions.  The most common type of heart disease in the United States is coronary artery disease (CAD), which affects the blood flow to the heart.  Decreased blood flow can cause a heart attack.

Sometimes heart disease may be “silent” and not diagnosed until a person experiences signs or symptoms of a heart attack, heart failure, or an arrhythmia.  When these events happen, symptoms may include1

  • Heart attack: Chest pain or discomfort, upper back or neck pain, indigestion, heartburn, nausea or vomiting, extreme fatigue, upper body discomfort, dizziness, and shortness of breath.
  • Arrhythmia: Fluttering feelings in the chest (palpitations).
  • Heart failure
  • Shortness of breath, fatigue, or swelling of the feet, ankles, legs, abdomen, or neck veins.

High blood pressure, high blood cholesterol, and smoking are key risk factors for heart disease.  About half of Americans (47%) have at least one of these three risk factors.  Several other medical conditions and lifestyle choices can also put people at a higher risk for heart disease, including:

Overweight & Obesity

Weight that is higher than what is considered as a healthy weight for a given height is described as overweight or obese.  Body Mass Index, or BMI, is used as a screening tool for overweight or obesity.

Body Mass Index (BMI) is a person’s weight in kilograms divided by the square of height in meters.  A high BMI can be an indicator of high body fatness.

To calculate BMI, see the Adult BMI Calculator or determine BMI by finding your height and weight in this BMI Index Chart.

  • If your BMI is less than 18.5, it falls within the underweight range.
  • If your BMI is 18.5 to <25, it falls within the normal.
  • If your BMI is 25.0 to <30, it falls within the overweight range.
  • If your BMI is 30.0 or higher, it falls within the obese range.

Obesity is frequently subdivided into categories:

  • Class 1: BMI of 30 to < 35
  • Class 2: BMI of 35 to < 40
  • Class 3: BMI of 40 or higher. Class 3 obesity is sometimes categorized as “extreme” or “severe” obesity.

Obesity is a complex health issue to address.  Obesity results from a combination of causes and contributing factors, including individual factors such as behavior and genetics.  Behaviors can include dietary patterns, physical activity, inactivity, medication use, and other exposures.  Additional contributing factors in our society include the food and physical activity environment, education and skills, and food marketing and promotion.

Obesity is a serious concern because it is associated with poorer mental health outcomes, reduced quality of life, and the leading causes of death in the U.S. and worldwide, including diabetes, heart disease, stroke, and some types of cancer.

BMI For Adults Widget

Smoking & Tobacco Use

Smoking harms nearly every organ of the body, causing many diseases and affecting the health of smokers in general.  Quitting smoking has immediate as well as long-term benefits for you and your loved ones.

Smoking leads to disease and disability and harms nearly every organ of the body.  More than 16 million Americans are living with a disease caused by smoking.  For every person who dies because of smoking, at least 30 people live with a serious smoking-related illness. Smoking causes cancer, heart disease, stroke, lung diseases, diabetes, and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), which includes emphysema and chronic bronchitis.  Smoking also increases risk for tuberculosis, certain eye diseases, and problems of the immune system, including rheumatoid arthritis.

Secondhand smoke exposure contributes to approximately 41,000 deaths among nonsmoking adults and 400 deaths in infants each year.  Secondhand smoke causes stroke, lung cancer, and coronary heart disease in adults.  Children who are exposed to secondhand smoke are at increased risk for sudden infant death syndrome, acute respiratory infections, middle ear disease, more severe asthma, respiratory symptoms, and slowed lung growth.

Smoking remains the leading cause of preventable death and disease in the United States, killing more than 480,000 Americans each year.  Smoking causes immediate damage to your body, which can lead to long-term health problems.  For every smoking-related death, at least 30 Americans live with a smoking-related illness.  The only proven strategy to protect yourself from harm is to never smoke, and if you do smoke or use tobacco products, to quit.  It’s never too late to quit smoking.  Quitting smoking now improves your health and reduces your risk of heart disease, cancer, lung disease, and other smoking-related illnesses.