Health Matters September 2019

Health Matters The latest news on the health and wellness issues that matter most • September 2019

NCH von Arx Diabetes and Nutrition Health Center offers Treatment, Education and Nutritional Counseling

In May 2019, the NCH von Arx Diabetes and Nutrition Health Center moved back to the NCH Downtown Baker Hospital campus after a full renovation of the center. It provides treatment, nutrition counseling, planning and education, and is overseen by a staff of medical providers including Victor Luna, MD, and Valeriu Neagu, MD, both NCH endocrinologists, and Janis King, DPN, APRN, endocrinology nurse practitioner. “Dr. Neagu and Janis King, located at the von Arx Center and Dr. Luna, who is based at our Bonita Springs office, see patients who have diabetes and other endocrine concerns such as gland and hormonal imbalances, thyroid and adrenal problems and metabolic disorders,” says Sarah Frye, NCH Physician Group Operations Director. A team of registered and licensed dietitians, registered nurses and certified diabetes educators completes the highly qualified staff. According to Dr. Neagu, diabetes is the main cause of secondary blindness, amputation, chronic kidney disease and end-stage kidney disease for dialysis patients in the US. “Diabetes is known as the silent killer, since patients can be without symptoms,” explains Dr. Neagu. “They can function well with a blood glucose three times above the target and still feel relatively well.” Among the many macrovascular and microvascular complications that can arise from diabetes are retinopathy (affecting vision), neuropathy (affecting nerves) and nephropathy (affecting the kidneys) – all of which are non-reversible. However, if a patient’s diabetes has been uncontrolled for a long time, and then becomes controlled with diagnosis and treatment, the progression of the disease, and its complications, can actually stop. Dr. Neagu says that the incidence of diabetes is increasing exponentially. Once considered a disease of the elderly, diabetes is now routinely diagnosed in teenaged patients – and younger children – many of whom are overweight. “Lifestyle changes like the rate of automatization with the use of cars rather than walking, decreases in

• Individual Nutrition Consultation – Adult and Pediatric • Healthy Plate Weight Management Program (1:1 personalized counseling and meal planning sessions) von Arx Diabetes and Nutrition Health Center programs for Diabetes and Nutrition education programs:

physical activity, changes in dietary patterns and the fact that most foods – even salami – are infused with high fructose ingredients, all contribute to the rise in obesity,” Dr. Neagu explains. However, he adds that he has seen a big improvement in the control and management of Type I diabetes with the use of home based insulin pumps and continuous glucose monitors. “One patient dropped their A1C from 12% to 7% in three months after initiating glucose monitoring,” he says. “While diet is still the cornerstone in treating diabetes, medication is also effective.” Dr. Neagu says that he recommends that his patients practice “mindful eating” to help control their diabetes. “At the table, be aware of what you’re eating,” he suggests. “Never eat anything while you're driving, or watching television, or engrossed in activities. The brain doesn’t register the process of eating; it is just a reflex, and you only end up with NCH Endocrinologist, Dr. Valeriu Neagu, and Sarah Frye, Director of Operations for NCH Physician Group. unneeded extra calories.” The NCH von Arx Center offers a diabetes education self-management program, a gestational diabetes clinic, diabetes prevention, a caregiver workshop and a diabetes and insulin pump support group. Nutritional offerings include individual nutrition consultation and weight management programs and a 12-week supervised weight management group. Audrey McKernan, NCH registered dietitian

• Healthy Weight Management Group (with a 12-week Wellness membership) • Diabetes Self-Management Program (with a 30-day Wellness membership; evening and daytime) • Gestational Diabetes Clinic (individual instruction) • Diabetes Prevention Class • Diabetes Caregiver Workshop • Diabetes & Insulin Pump Support Group

and certified diabetes educator, teaches patients about healthy meal planning, as well as how to shop, and more. Patients who have undergone bariatric procedures such as a gastric bypass, sleeve gastrectomy or the Orbera gastric balloon, or who are enrolled in a medical weight loss program, now have access to a support group that addresses their particular concerns. “It is well-documented that 80 percent of Type II diabetes patients that have a BMI of about 40 and who had various gastric bypass procedures can actually go off insulin in three months. It’s virtually a cure for diabetes,” says Dr. Neagu.

“As they lose weight, they go from having chronic diabetes to remission. They have a struggle every time they take a bite; we have to reinforce the good behavior – and the more we do, the more success we see.” In addition to medications, new technology includes continuous glucose monitoring devices, an external device placed on the arm, and an array of insulin pumps that enable staff members to download information to see the patient’s trends and explain treatment. The NCH von Arx Diabetes and Nutrition Health Center hopes to use its expertise and passion to better serve the southwest Florida community.

Insurance coverage is available fromMedicare and most private insurances for diabetes programs.

For more information or to make an appointment, call the NCH von Arx Diabetes and Nutrition Health Center , located in the Briggs Health Pavilion at 399 9th St N, in Naples, at (239) 624-3450 or visit

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