Making a Complex Disease Manageable

03/09/2015

Nurse practitioner Dana Hellebusch, registered dietician Shannon Breggeman and patient Kelly RosemannPictured: Nurse practitioner Dana Hellebusch, registered dietitian Shannon Brueggemann and patient Kelly Rosemann


SLUCare's team approach to diabetes helps keep the disease in check

More than 29 million Americans are living with diabetes, an increase of 3 million since 2010. Nearly three times that number have prediabetes. Without intervention, many of them will develop the disease within five years. And, if current trends continue, one out of three U.S. adults will have it by 2050. 

The board-certified endocrinology experts at SLUCare Physician Group provide comprehensive care for people who are living with diabetes. "Every person who has this disease is different, so we take an individualized approach to patient care, adapting treatment to each person's needs and lifestyle," says SLUCare endocrinologist Dr. Deepashree Gupta, assistant professor of internal medicine in the Division of Endocrinology at Saint Louis University School of Medicine.

Diabetes is a complex, chronic disease that affects every system in the body, Gupta explains. "People with diabetes are at increased risk of serious health complications, including vision loss, heart disease, stroke, kidney failure, nerve damage, amputation and premature death," she says. "The disease needs to be carefully monitored and managed. That's why SLUCare offers a multidisciplinary obesity clinic, treatment for high blood pressure and cholesterol, and screening and management for foot problems and other diabetes-related issues. We work as a team to make sure patients get the best possible care."

Dr. Gupta monitors their endocrine system and hormones, eyesight, blood pressure and other medical management issues. Together, we provide a strong support system for each patient, both in the office and via phone and email."

Nurse practitioner Dana Hellebusch is part of the six-member SLUCare team. A certified diabetes educator who also holds master's degrees in nursing and health service management, Hellebusch often alternates seeing patients with Gupta. "I help them with the day-to-day mechanics of living with diabetes, such as keeping their blood sugar under control and proper usage of their insulin pump and continuous glucose monitor," Hellebusch explains. "Dr. Gupta monitors their endocrine system and hormones, eyesight, blood pressure and other medical management issues. Together, we provide a strong support system for each patient, both in the office and via phone and email."

Kelly Rosemann, 35, appreciates the team approach. "I was diagnosed with Type 1 diabetes at age 5," she says. "I've seen a lot of medical professionals over the years, but none have been as helpful as the SLUCare team. Not only are they more medically advanced, but they really listen to me! Instead of taking a ‘see you in six months' attitude, Dr. Gupta and Dana are always in touch, making sure I'm on the right track with my health. I see them every three to four months. They've taught me to be proactive about my blood sugar control by making the most of my insulin pump and glucose monitor."

 Before deciding to get pregnant, Rosemann visited Gupta and Hellebusch. "Women with diabetes are considered high-risk pregnancies, because poor blood sugar control can cause birth defects and other problems," she says. "But my SLUCare team got my numbers under tight control before I conceived, and they're watching over me every step of the way. Now my 3-year-old daughter will have a little sister in July!"

The SLUCare Physician Group endocrinology team sees patients at SLUCare Doctors Building, SLUCare Des Peres and University Tower. For more information, call 314-977-4440.

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This article originally appeared in Town & Style.

By: Tony Di Martino