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Diabetes Education – Center for Diabetes

Learning to live with a chronic disease

Ellis Diabetes Care helps individuals with diabetes improve their quality of life by providing education to patients and their families.

What is Diabetes?

Diabetes is a chronic disease that develops when the body doesn't make enough insulin, or doesn't use insulin properly. Insulin helps glucose, a form of sugar manufactured by the body from food, enter cells and make the energy the body needs. A person with diabetes must control the amount of glucose in the blood to avoid medical complications, such as loss of vision, heart attack, amputation or kidney disease.

Awareness and Symptoms

An estimated 24 million Americans have diabetes; however, approximately 6 million of these people don't even know it. In addition, it is estimated that 57 million Americans have "pre-diabetes" and most will develop diabetes within 10 years. Ellis Diabetes Care strives to increase awareness of the symptoms of diabetes because too often they are overlooked.

Since early detection and treatment of diabetes are the keys to reducing your chances of developing serious medical complications, it's important to know the following symptoms of diabetes:

  • Frequent urination
  • Excessive thirst
  • Extreme hunger
  • Unusual weight loss
  • Increased fatigue
  • Irritability
  • Blurry vision

If you have one or more of these symptoms, the American Diabetes Association recommends that you make an appointment with your doctor as soon as possible.

How can we help?

The first step in prevention and treatment of diabetes is education. What you don't know about diabetes can hurt you. Ellis Diabetes Care offers many programs and services for people with diabetes and for those people at risk for diabetes. Ellis is staffed with Certified Diabetes Educators that will work with you on an individual basis to develop a self-management plan designed to meet your needs.

Contact Us

For more information about the programs or to speak with one of our educators, please call Ellis Diabetes Care at 518.347.5421.

Learn to live well with diabetes

Diabetes Day by Day is an outpatient self-management education program that is recognized by the American Diabetes Association as a program of excellence. The Diabetes Day by Day program is designed to help you learn to live well with diabetes. This program offers the participant the option to receive one-to-one instruction or take part in group sessions.

Getting Started

The first step in the program is a meeting with a Certified Diabetes Educator to determine your learning needs and decide the best, most convenient method of instruction for you.

What You Will Learn

You will learn what diabetes is, how to regulate blood sugars and how to monitor for complications. In addition, you will learn about medications, the role of exercise and stress management. You also will meet with a registered dietitian to develop an individualized meal plan. The program is designed to help people with diabetes maintain the motivation to keep up the hard work of taking care of themselves. The American Diabetes Association recommends the topics covered in the program. One to three months after you finish the program, you will have a follow-up visit with the Certified Diabetes Educator, who will evaluate your progress.

Group Classes

Classes are offered during the day and evening. They typically last about two hours. The program consists of a series of three classes:

  • Monitoring and Management
  • Move More Eat Right
  • Putting It All Together

Classes are offered in the day or evening. Full day sessions are also available. 


One of the biggest benefits of this program is that participants will establish a relationship with a Certified Diabetes Educator who will be available to answer questions and be there for them in the months to come.


Most insurance companies will pay all or most of the cost of this program. Check with your insurance plan if you have any questions. If cost is an issue, please call us for assistance at 518. 347.5421.

To Register

You will need a physician's referral in order to register. If you need help obtaining a referral, our staff will be happy to assist you. For information on registration, please call Ellis Diabetes Care at 518.347-5421.

Contact Us

For more information about the programs or to speak with one of our educators, please call Ellis Diabetes Care at 518.347.5421.

A program for children with diabetes

Being diagnosed with diabetes can bring many changes for children and their families. The lifestyle of the entire family is affected. Ellis Medicine offers an ongoing support group which provides education, support and activities for both children and parents.

Understanding Diabetes

This program will give you the opportunity to learn more about diabetes by sharing your experiences and concerns with others who face the same daily challenges. The sessions are run by a Certified Diabetes Educator.

Learn About

  • Latest advances in research
  • Newest products available
  • Meal planning & diet adjustment
  • Balancing diet, exercise and insulin
  • Dealing with emergencies
  • Sick day rules
  • Adjustments to school

Kids Meeting Other Kids

Bringing your child together with other children who have diabetes may be the most valuable part of this program.


Meet others in the same situation and share your feelings, questions and knowledge about your child's illness:

  • How do others cope with special events like Halloween, Easter and children's parties?
  • How do others answer children's questions?
  • Are there resources you don't know about in the community?

When and Where

The Sugar Free Gang Support Group meets at Ellis Health Center, 600 McClellan Street, Schenectady, once each month. Get Directions

Upcoming Meetings


There is no fee; but pre-registration is required.
Ask About our Sugar Free Gang Kids Kamp.

Contact us

For more information or to register, please call Ellis Diabetes Care at 518.347.5421.

Annual summer camp for children with diabetes

Its not easy being a kid with diabetes. But, through lessons learned and friendships forged at the Sugar Free Gang summer camp -- the only one of its kind in the Northeast - these kids know they're not alone.

Each year, dozens of kids ages 6-12 attend Ellis' unique summer recreation program to learn how to stay healthy, take good care of themselves and have fun doing it! At the day camp, children with diabetes learn how to manage their disease through creative activities, games, sports and entertainment. For many children at the SFG Kids Kamp, adjusting their insulin pumps and checking their blood sugar is as routine as applying sun screen and bug spray - the difference is, their lives depend on it.

Many of the teen and young adult counselors are former campers, themselves. They return each year to serve as role models, some having lived with the disease for more than ten years. The youngest campers are paired with a counselor in training for a "buddy" experience.


Contact Us

For more information about the Sugar Free Gang and the annual summer camp, please contact Ellis Diabetes Care at 518.347.5421.