Top Doctors: 5 fast facts on diabetes

Dr. Leonard Gioia is the chief of endocrinology

Dr. Leonard Gioia is the chief of endocrinology at Good Samaritan Hospital Medical Center in West Islip. (August 3, 2011) Photo Credit: Newsday/John Paraskevas

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Nearly 80 million people in the United States are at high risk for developing type 2 diabetes, according to the American Diabetes Association. But it's possible for many people in that group to lower the chance they will become one of the 26 million U.S. residents who have the disease.

With type 2 diabetes, the most common form, the body either does not produce enough insulin or does not use it properly. Insulin is needed for glucose, or sugar, to be converted to energy.

Here's what you should know about keeping diabetes at bay:

1. LOSE WEIGHT

"Some people are going to get diabetes, and there's not much they can do, even if they do everything right," said Dr. Lawrence E. Shapiro, chief of the Division of Endocrinology, Diabetes and Metabolism at Winthrop-University Hospital in Mineola and a professor of medicine at Stony Brook School of Medicine. "But there are more people who can prevent or reverse it with lifestyle changes."

Losing weight should be a top priority for anyone who's overweight, Shapiro said. Diabetes has become much more common over the past 40 years, he said, and excess weight is the culprit.

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2. FIND OUT IF YOU HAVE METABOLIC SYNDROME

The term describes a group of medical problems: high blood pressure, high triglycerides, low levels of "good" cholesterol, extra weight around the waist and insulin resistance, or trouble controlling blood sugar. Having three or more of these conditions greatly boosts the risk for heart disease and type 2 diabetes.

"It gives a heads-up to the internist and to the patient that something should be done now while this syndrome is evolving," Shapiro said.

3. GET MONITORED MORE OFTEN IF YOU'RE AT RISK

Regular testing -- perhaps during twice-yearly rather than annual checkups -- can detect diabetes, said Dr. Leonard Gioia, chief of endocrinology at Good Samaritan Hospital Medical Center in West Islip.

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4. TAKE MEDICATION, IF NECESSARY

Metformin, a drug known by a variety of brand names, is available for people who are at high risk for developing diabetes, but it's not for everyone, Gioia said. "It should probably be restricted to people who have a very high risk of diabetes, maybe because of a strong family history involving both parents or because they've had blood tests that show they're on the verge of becoming diabetic."

Metformin is inexpensive and easy to take, he said, but it can cause side effects such as diarrhea, bloating and nausea in some people. "Otherwise," he said, "it's a great drug."

5. REVERSE DIABETES IF YOU ALREADY HAVE IT

It's difficult to reverse diabetes, Gioia said, but some people have done it. Bariatric surgery, which can lead to tremendous weight loss, has eliminated diabetes in some patients, he said.

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"And I can think of at least one person in my practice who basically reversed diabetes on his own," Gioia said. "He lost enough weight and came off of everything -- all the pills -- and had a resolution of diabetes."

"Does it happen often? No," he said. "Can it happen? Yes."

 

Endocrinologists

 

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This is the seventh installment of a 26-week series in which Newsday presents Castle Connolly's list of top L.I. doctors. Today: endocrinology, diabetes and metabolism

Dr. John Aloia

222 Station Plaza N.

Mineola

516-663-3511

Dr. Michael Balkin

191 E. Main St.

Huntington

631-549-2525

Dr. Anjani Bhatt

871 E. Park Ave.

Long Beach

516-889-8853

Dr. Rachelle Bitton

2 Pro Health Plaza

Lake Success

516-390-5760

Dr. Howard Brand

2500 Nesconset Hwy.

Stony Brook

631-751-2400

Dr. Harold Carlson

Stony Brook Univ. Med. Center

Dept. Medicine

26 Research Way

East Setauket

631-444-0580

Dr. Seth Friedman

560 Northern Blvd.

Great Neck

516-466-6165

Dr. Marie Gelato

26 Research Way

East Setauket

631-444-0580

Dr. Leonard Gioia

53 Brentwood Rd.

Bay Shore

631-666-6275

Dr. Alan Goldenberg

East End Endocrine Associates

189 Main Rd.

Riverhead

631-288-7120

Dr. Jeffrey Gordon

3 School St.

Glen Cove

516-759-2420

Dr. Martin Greenfield

2 ProHealth Plaza

Lake Success

516-608-6823

Dr. Kenneth Hupart

NU Health

Nassau Univ.

Medical Center

2201 Hempstead Tpke.

East Meadow

516-572-4848

Dr. Irwin Klein

2800 Marcus Ave.

Lake Success

516-708-2540

Dr. Steven Lomasky

242 Merrick Rd.

Rockville Centre

516-536-3700

Dr. Paul Margulies

444 Community Dr.

Manhasset

516-627-1366

Dr. David Rosenthal

Nassau University Medical Center

Div. Endocrinology

2201 Hempstead Tpke.

East Meadow

516-572-4848

Dr. Lawrence Shapiro

222 Station Plaza N.

Mineola

516-663-3511

Dr. Ashok Vaswani

901 Stewart Ave.

Garden City

516-739-0414

Dr. Stuart Weinerman

2800 Marcus Ave.

Lake Success

516-708-2540

Dr. Craig Wexler

285 Sills Rd., Bldg. 15

East Patchogue

631-758-5858


CLINICAL GENETICS

Dr. Martin Bialer

1554 Northern Blvd.

Manhasset

516-365-3996

Dr. Joyce Fox

1554 Northern Blvd.

Manhasset

516-365-3996

Dr. David Hyman

48 Route 25A

Smithtown

631-862-3620

Dr. Margaret McGovern

Stony Brook Univ. Med. Center

Pediatrics

Nicolls Road

Stony Brook

631-444-5437


REPRODUCTIVE ENDOCRINOLOGY

Dr. Steven Brenner

2001 Marcus Ave.

Lake Success

516-358-6363

Dr. Richard Bronson

State Univ. of NY

at Stony Brook

Health Science Center, T9-080

Stony Brook

631-246-9100

Dr. Daniel Kenigsberg

8 Corporate Center Dr.

Melville

631-752-0606

Dr. Michael Lydic

Reproductive

Specialists of NY

2500 Nesconset Hwy.

Bldg 23

Stony Brook

631-246-9100

Dr. David Rosenfeld

Div. Human Reproduction

300 Community Dr.

Ambulatory Bldg.

Manhasset

516-562-2229

 

How they were picked

 

Castle Connolly Medical Ltd. is a health care research and information company founded in 1991 by a former medical college board chairman and president to help guide consumers to America's top doctors and hospitals. Castle Connolly's established survey and research process, under the direction of a doctor, involves tens of thousands of doctors and the medical leadership of leading hospitals.

Castle Connolly's team of researchers follows a rigorous screening process to select doctors on national and regional levels. Using mail and telephone surveys, and electronic ballots, they ask physicians and the leadership of top hospitals to identify exceptional doctors. Careful screening of doctors' educational and professional experience is essential to the committee. Not every good physician makes the list. Rather, the list is a way for patients to get started on their search for the best medical professional. Newsday is not part of the selection process.

Doctors do not and cannot pay to be selected and profiled as Castle Connolly Top Doctors.

 

To see the whole list . . .

 

Who else is on the list of Top Doctors? More than 6,000 listings are in the New York Metro Area edition of "Top Doctors," published by Castle Connolly Medical Ltd. The softcover list price is $34.95. For more information, go to castleconnolly.com, or call 800-399-DOCS.

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