Expert, Team Tackle Diabetes Epidemic…

Drs. Deborah Murray, left, and Miya Allen head a team of diabetes experts skilled in managing their patients’
varied health issues.

The NorthBay Center for Diabetes and Endocrinology has undergone myriad changes since Dr. Deborah Murray, M.D., endocrinologist, came on board as the center’s medical director in 2007. Her goal: To create a center of excellence.

“Diabetes is a complicated disease and no single provider of care can manage all the needs a patient with diabetes may have,” says Dr. Murray. “That’s what makes our program unique; we’ve basically developed a one-stop shop that focuses on the ‘whole person’ experience.”

Solano County’s residents deserve that, Dr. Murray notes, as it is home to more adults with diabetes than any other county in California. And, unfortunately, the numbers are on the upswing. According to the Centers for Disease Control, 9.5 percent of Solano County’s adult population had the disease in 2009; more recent numbers have topped 10 percent.

When Dr. Murray joined NorthBay Healthcare, the center consisted of just an endocrinologist and a dietitian. During the past six years, she has methodically assembled a team of experts skilled in diabetes management and education. The center has earned several coveted accreditations—from the American Diabetes Association and the American Association of Diabetes Educators—along the way.

The NorthBay team now includes two certified diabetes educators, dietitians, two nurse practitioners specializing in chronic diabetes care and, most recently, a second endocrinologist, Miya Allen, M.D. In addition to the expert care of an endocrinologist for the complex diabetes patient, the program benefits the less complicated by focusing on education and support, to help patients address the varied health issues they may face, and to help them develop the self-care skills so essential to diabetes management.

The program has also expanded to provide inpatient diabetes management services. The center’s staff is in constant communication with a patient’s primary care physician, creating a level of coordinated care not seen in many healthcare environments.

The staff’s mission is to help patients understand how interconnected such things as diet, exercise, good sleep and lowered stress are, as well as how important it is to set lifestyle goals and to regularly monitor blood sugars and medications. All efforts work in combination to help control the disease and improve a patient’s quality of life.

“My vision was to create a complete diabetes management program,” Dr. Murray explains. “We have made steady progress toward building a comprehensive program that can provide the best possible care to Solano County’s residents.”

For information, contact Dr. Murray or the Center for Diabetes and Endocrinology at (707) 624-7999.

Prevention is Possible

Diabetes is a growing epidemic among Americans, but there is good news, according to Miya Allen, M.D., NorthBay Center for Diabetes and Endocrinology’s newest endocrinologist. “Diabetes can be preventable.”

“Our lives are busy and it may not be convenient, but with some effort it is possible to reduce your odds of being diagnosed with diabetes,” she says.

“If you have a family history of diabetes, know your risk. You can reduce that risk by adopting a lifestyle that incorporates a balanced diet, healthy eating habits and daily physical activity. These changes will also support your overall well-being in the long run.”

Dr. Allen notes that age, race and family history are some factors that increase your risk for acquiring diabetes, but offers the following tips to reduce that risk:

  • Remember that, no matter your age or circumstance, you can make healthy changes.
  • If you are overweight, aim to lose 7 percent of your body weight (or 14 pounds if you weigh 200 pounds) because even a weight loss of 10 to 15 pounds can make a huge difference.
  • Exercise moderately, such as walking 30 minutes a day, five days a week but always consult your physician first to determine what level of activity is safe for you.
  • Eat a balanced diet and control your portions.
  • For some people with prediabetes, early intervention can actually return blood glucose levels to the normal range.
  • Know the symptoms of diabetes, and see your physician if you experience frequent urination, thirst, extreme fatigue, blurry vision, or slow-healing bruises.

For more information, call Dr. Allen at (707) 624-7999.

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