Pink Prescriptions - December 2017

Diabetes Diagnosis is Far From Sweet


1.5 million Americans are diagnosed with diabetes every year.1

After I was diagnosed with diabetes, my specialist told me to walk as much as possible. How does walking, or other exercise, help counter diabetes?
Walking can be a great way to increase physical activity because it does not require special equipment or a membership, just a good pair of shoes and a safe place to walk.

A combination of aerobic activity and resistance training is ideal for one’s health. Short-term physical activity lowers blood glucose (sugar) because it is used as fuel. Long term, consistent physical activity increases the number of insulin receptors located in our muscles and this helps us use insulin more efficiently.  Improved insulin sensitivity can help normalize blood glucose and reduce the amount of diabetes medication needed. Nowadays, less medication translates to “Saves you money!”

Taking a walk after a meal can help prevent blood glucose from spiking after eating. Planning to walk after eating can also improve awareness of when you are comfortably full, to help over eating.

Aerobic activity is cardioprotective in diabetes and can help with weight loss. Resistance training can be just as effective in fat loss and helps preserve lean muscle mass better than just walking. So, whether it is walking in the neighborhood or exercising at the gym, get moving and stay moving every day.

PinkRx1217 HugginsElizabeth Huggins, MESS,RD,LD,CDE is a Certified Diabetes Educator, a Registered Dietitian and holds a Masters degree in Exercise and Sport Science. She is the Outpatient Diabetes Education Coordinator at Hilton Head Hospital. For more information about diabetes education call (843)682-7348.


Diabetes remains the 7th leading cause of death in the U.S.1


What is the difference between pre-diabetes and type 2 diabetes, and what are the symptoms? If I have pre-diabetes, will I get type 2 diabetes? What test is used to determine if you have either condition?

Type 2 diabetes mellitus is a chronic condition that affects the way your body metabolizes blood glucose, also called blood sugar. People with this disease suffer from insulin resistance. Insulin is the hormone that lets your cells turn glucose into energy. In type 2 diabetics, the body does not produce enough insulin, or it may resist the effects of the insulin, causing hyperglycemia or an elevated blood sugar level.

Your fasting blood sugar level (taken in the morning before you eat or drink anything) should be less than 100 mg/dl. If it’s between 100-125 mg/dl and you are obese and/or have a strong family history of type 2 diabetes, you have pre-diabetes. If it’s greater than 126 mg/dl, you have type 2 diabetes.
Patients with elevated blood glucose levels, who make lifestyle and diet changes can improve their health and may not develop type 2 diabetes. They should avoid eating simple carbohydrates, such as cakes, cookies, pasta and pies, and consume complex carbohydrates like fruits and whole grain breads.

Symptoms of diabetes can include fatigue, frequent urination, excess thirst, lack of concentration, and increased hunger. But not all diabetics experience symptoms. The best way to determine if you have a high sugar level is to have a fasting or random blood glucose screening, a simple finger stick blood test that can be performed at most primary care offices. Many health fairs and pharmacies also offer this screening service.

Obesity plays a big role in the development of type 2 diabetes. Patients at high risk of developing diabetes usually have a body mass index of more than 25. They also may have additional risk factors, such as a family history of diabetes, a history of gestational diabetes, a sedentary lifestyle, high blood pressure and elevated cholesterol.

Staying active and eating healthy are two of the best ways to prevent type 2 diabetes.

PinkRx1217 DonovanMary Beth Donovan, ACNP-BC, is a board-certified acute nurse practitioner at Beaufort Memorial Primary Care. A member of the hospital’s medical staff since 2013, Donovan received her Bachelor of Science degree in Nursing from the Medical College of Georgia and her Master of Science degree in Nursing from the University of South Alabama. She can be reached at 843-522-7600.


In 2015, 30.3 million Americans, or 9.4% of the population, had diabetes.1


If I have been diagnosed with pre-diabetes, what nutritional changes do I need to make to prevent full-on diabetes?

A pre-diabetes diagnosis doesn’t mean you will definitely get Type 2 diabetes. It is important to get your blood sugar out of the pre-diabetes range, and your diet and exercise are extremely important.
Select fruits and vegetables that are fresh and high in fiber and grains which are unrefined; these foods will help stabilize, not spike, your blood sugar. Complex carbohydrates are better than simple carbohydrates.

Load up on vegetables, especially dark leafy greens. Go easy on starchy vegetables. Snack on fresh, high fiber fruit (whole fruit, not juice). Go easy on higher sugar fruits such as grapes and mangos.
For proteins, keep it lean. Include a small amount of protein with every meal. Protein helps keep blood sugar stable.

Eliminate fried food, margarine, shortening, packaged crackers and foods containing trans fats. Use olive oil for cooking and dressings.

Make sure your beverage of choice is water. Avoid sweet drinks and reduce alcohol.

A useful tool is the glycemic index (GI). This number gives you an idea of how fast your body converts the carbohydrates into glucose. The smaller the number, the less impact the food has on your blood sugar. (55 or less = good   |   55-69 = medium   |   70 or higher = high/bad)Look for GI on labels on packaged foods and on the Internet for common foods.

Keep a food diary for a week then review it with your provider. Seeing your habits in writing is an opportunity to make improvements. You CAN turn the tide on pre-diabetes.

PinkRx1217 BurksJennifer Burks is an Advance Practice Registered Nurse and Certified Nurse Midwife (APRN, CNM) with over 25 years of experience. At Pure Medical Spa, Burks offers nutritional counseling, HCG Diet Counseling, LipoTrim injections, adrenal testing and hormone balancing among other services for both men and women. At Pinnacle Women’s Health, Burks offers annual gynecologic exams, PAP smears, breast exams and family planning to women and adolescents. She specializes in bio-identical hormone replacement for menopausal and peri-menopausal issues.


What is the connection between diabetes and heart disease?

For years, we have known there is a strong connection between diabetes and heart disease. Take a look at these statistics that illustrate this connection:

1. At least 68 percent of diabetics age 65 or older will die from some form of heart disease and 16 percent will die of stroke.

2. Adults with diabetes are 2-4 times more likely to die from heart disease than adults without diabetes.

The American Heart Association considers diabetes to be one of the seven major controllable risk factors for cardiovascular disease. This means that diabetes, in and of itself, makes an individual more likely to suffer from heart disease. In addition to this, however, there are also other risk factors for heart disease that are often also found in diabetics. These include high blood pressure, high cholesterol and/or triglycerides, obesity and lack of proper exercise/activity. The good news is all of these risk factors, including diabetes, can be controlled! Working to control diabetes and these other risk factors can reduce a person’s risk of heart disease and stroke, in addition to just feeling better and healthier every day. Together, we can help fight the No. 1 killer of men and women in our country, so help spread the word!

PinkRx1217 GuptaDr. Gupta began Hilton Head Concierge Physicians, specializing in providing personalized concierge level quality and attention, while taking care of all of his patients’ healthcare needs. He encompasses diet, nutrition and proper supplementation to help his patients stay healthy, live pain free and get off of unnecessary medications. He is the only Concierge Physician to make house calls for his patients! Dr. Gupta also started the Concierge Men’s Center on Hilton Head, specializing in Anti-Aging for men. This practice uses all natural techniques to restore energy, endurance, virility, vitality, and rejuvenate men of all ages. His natural hormone balancing techniques keep men looking, feeling, loving and living at their prime.


In 2015, 84.1 million Americans age 18 and older had prediabetes.1


What is gestational diabetes? If I get gestational diabetes does that mean I’ll end up with type 2 diabetes?

Gestational diabetes is one of the most common complications of pregnancy, affecting 5-8 percent of all pregnancies. Universal screening for gestational diabetes is usually performed between 24-28 weeks of pregnancy with abnormal results confirmed with diagnostic testing. Often times, gestational diabetes can be controlled by following a diabetic (ADA) diet, however, some women require medication. Pregnancies complicated by gestational diabetes are monitored more closely than low-risk pregnancies, as this diagnosis can increase the risk of many complications of pregnancy, including pre-eclampsia, macrosomia (increased birth weight), cesarean section and stillbirth. Approximately 50-70 percent of women who are diagnosed with gestational diabetes during their pregnancy will go on to develop type 2 diabetes later in life, so it is recommended that these women undergo further testing after the postpartum recovery period.

PinkRx1217 DowneyErica Downey, M.D., FACOG has joined the team at Riverside Women’s Care and brings her passion for women’s health to the Lowcountry.  Dr. Downey enjoys caring for women during all stages of their life journey and has special interests in adolescent gynecology and pelvic floor repair.  843-540-5857 /


I heard that diabetes can affect your eyesight and even make you go blind. What if I have diabetes? Is there anything I can do to prevent blindness or damage to my eyesight?

People with diabetes can have an eye disease called diabetic retinopathy. This occurs when high blood sugar levels cause damage to blood vessels in the retina. These blood vessels can leak and cause swelling, or they can close, stopping blood from passing through to the retina. Diabetic retinopathy can cause vision loss, which may be permanent.

• If you have diabetes, talk with your primary care doctor about controlling your blood sugar, high blood pressure or kidney problems.

• See your ophthalmologist regularly for dilated eye exams. Diabetic retinopathy may be found before you even notice any vision problems.

• If you notice vision changes in one or both eyes, call your ophthalmologist right away.

• Get treatment for diabetic retinopathy as soon as possible. This is the best way to prevent vision loss.

PinkRx1217 FarrDr. Kenneth Farr is the Medical Director of SunGate Medical Group, which also includes Island Medical Spa and Aqua Med Spa & Salon. Dr. Farr has been serving the Lowcountry for about 20 years, and now has locations in Hilton Head, Bluffton, Lady’s Island, Port Royal and Pooler. He is certified by the American Board of Ophthalmology and the American Society of Cataract and Refractive Surgery.
1 Source: American Diabetes Association:

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