New Hanover Regional Medical Center Receives 2 National Recognitions for Quality and Safety

By / Health and Wellness / Tuesday, 02 December 2014 05:00

According to the 2014 National Diabetes Statistics Report, more than 29 million people or 9.3% of the population have diabetes. Although getting a diabetes diagnosis can be scary, serious complications related to the disease are not inevitable. Diabetes can be controlled with healthy habits and the expert care of a primary care physician who knows how to help manage the disease.
Quality Diabetes Care - One of the best steps a patient with diabetes can take to control the condition is to seek the care of a primary care physician with a track record of quality diabetes care. “For the best care, you need a physician who understands the disease,” said Elijah Gregory, M.D., with New Hanover Medical Group, a provider who was recognized by the National Committee for Quality Assurance (NCQA) and American Diabetes Association for excellence in key diabetes care measures. When people with diabetes receive quality care as outlined by these measures, which include eye exams, blood pressure tests, and nutrition therapy, they are less likely to suffer diabetes complications like heart attacks, stroke, blindness, kidney disease and amputations.
Monitor Blood Sugar - Blood glucose monitoring is the main tool for diabetes control. Checking blood sugar levels regularly and keeping them in the range recommended by a patient’s physician is critical to staying healthy and feeling good. Knowing blood sugar levels helps guide choices about food, physical activity and medication.
Adopt a Healthy Eating Plan - Committing to a healthy eating plan is an essential part of managing diabetes. A diabetes diet doesn’t have to be excessively restrictive. In fact, a well-balanced diabetes eating plan – high in nutrients and low in fat and calories with an emphasis on fruits, vegetables and whole grains – is a healthy diet for anyone. The main difference is the need to pay more attention to food choices and adhere to a regular schedule of mealtimes. Because foods that contain carbohydrates raise blood glucose, the focus is on complex carbohydrates such as fruits, vegetables and whole grains which are a good source of fiber and are digested slowly, keeping blood sugar levels stable. Eating at the same time of day every day, eating several small meals a day, and eating healthy snacks at regular times between meals will also keep your blood sugar level in the target range.
Exercise Regularly - Exercise is another essential component of a successful diabetes management plan. Regular physical activity helps manage diabetes in two important ways: it improves the body’s response to the insulin it produces, and working out causes muscles to use sugar for energy. Both of these actions lower blood sugar levels.
Because of the effect physical activity has on a body’s response to insulin, regular exercise may decrease the amount of insulin or diabetes medication a patient needs to take. Regular exercise also reduces stress, anxiety and depression, and can lower blood pressure and cholesterol levels, decreasing the risk for other health problems.
Practice Good Foot Care
Foot care is an important element of an overall diabetes care plan. Diabetes raises blood sugar levels; if not kept under control, this can lead to damage of the nerves that extend into the legs and feet, causing the feet to become less sensitive to pain. Sores on the feet may then go unnoticed and become infected. A primary care physician who provides diabetes care will implement regular foot checks as a part of a diabetes treatment plan. Other components of an effective diabetes management program include smoking cessation, managing stress and limiting alcohol. The risks of complications from diabetes become greater the longer someone has the disease, so it’s important to begin making healthy choices as early as possible. “When I’m working with patients at risk for diabetes, I show them a graph plotted out on a timeline,” said Dr. Gregory. “I say, ‘I see a trend, and if you continue, you will be here.’” Since “here” often means developing the disease, working with a healthcare provider recognized for diabetes care who can educate you about lifestyle changes is important.
“As a patient, if you really want to take care of yourself, seeing someone who specializes in diabetes care is one of the best things you can do for yourself,” said Dr. Gregory.
Dr. Gregory is a member of NHRMC Physician Group. For a free directory of NHRMC Physician Group providers, call 910.342.3400 or visit nhrmc physiciangroup.org for a full list of NHRMC physicians.

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