Published: Summer Margaret Stevens was diagnosed with Type 2 diabetes nearly three decades ago.

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1 1 of 5 1/9/2014 9:22 AM Published: Summer 2013 Margaret Stevens was diagnosed with Type 2 diabetes nearly three decades ago. A Type 2 diabetic, Margaret Stevens has lost over 100 pounds and has her glucose levels under control now, thanks to Dr. Tawfik and Hernando Diabetes Treatment Center. Since then, she seemed to manage her glucose levels adequately with insulin. In recent years, however, her glucose readings have tended to fluctuate drastically and she gained weight, which put her at an increased risk for additional health problems. I was having a tough time keeping my glucose readings at a normal level, Margaret says. My numbers were reading over three hundred at times and a normal reading is one hundred twenty or below. Margaret went to Hernando Diabetes Treatment Center in February and has since been under the care of Eihab H. Tawfik, MD, a board-certified internist who makes weight loss and diabetes management central to his practice. Hernando Diabetes Treatment Center is located with Christ Medical Primary Care and Christ Podiatry Care. Things just got to the point where I had to go see a specialist who could address the diabetes and the weight component together, Margaret confides. The entire situation was causing me more harm than I realized. Diabetes is life-threatening in itself and when you are overweight as well, it increased my risk of a heart attack or stroke. At both Hernando Diabetes Treatment Center and Citrus Diabetes Treatment Center, Dr. Tawfik offers

2 2 of 5 1/9/2014 9:22 AM individualized programs designed to help patients lose weight, manage medications, and develop better, healthier lives. The weight loss component of the practice has been effectively assisting patients for years. Based on a combination of appetite suppressant medications, vitamin injections, and a diet program specifically tailored to each individual, patients notice dramatic weight loss results quickly. In the first week, Dr. Tawfik says, patients typically lose up to ten pounds, with an average weight loss in four weeks ranging between twenty and thirty pounds. A healthy change In just the past few months I have lost thirty-six pounds, Margaret explains. Overall, I have lost over one hundred pounds. I look and feel so much better than before and my glucose numbers are leveled off now. My glucose levels are at one hundred twenty or below, which is in the normal range. I had to lose the weight. It was literally killing me. Statistically, obesity is defined as an excess proportion of total body fat. A person is considered obese when his or her Body Mass Index (BMI) is equal to or greater than 30. Additional health problems that can arise from being overweight can include heart disease, stroke, osteoarthritis, gallbladder disease, asthma, and sleep apnea. Our program not only changes our patients eating habits, but it also supports the development of a longer, healthier life, explains Dr. Tawfik. At Hernando Diabetes Treatment Center, non-diabetic weight loss patients see Dr. Tawfik s registered nurse on a weekly basis. She gives them vitamin injections, takes their vital signs, and manages their weight loss. The doctor sees his non-diabetic weight loss patients once every four weeks. According to Dr. Tawfik, the program is a combination of healthy eating, exercise, and the proper dose of appetite suppressants to help control a patient s metabolism. Our medications suppress the appetite significantly and increase the metabolism, states Dr. Tawfik. When the metabolic rate goes higher, patients are basically burning fat cells to accommodate the high metabolism. They re eating less and getting rid of more. Diabetic risk factors Approximately fifty percent of our weight loss patients are diabetic, states Dr. Tawfik. It s a real danger to be obese if you are already diabetic, or if not, there s the risk of developing the disease because of the extra weight. For those diabetic patients, Dr. Tawfik says treatment typically necessitates a visit to the office every week. As patients lose weight, their insulin requirements decrease, so it becomes critical to make the proper adjustments. Additionally, the doctor shares, unlike most of the traditional diabetes medications that often make patients gain weight in the long run, he is particularly pleased with the results of the medication called Victoza, an injectable insulin that helps to regulate blood glucose.

3 3 of 5 1/9/2014 9:22 AM According to Dr. Tawfik, the drug obtained FDA approval in early It is a member of a class of drugs known as incretins, which are gastrointestinal hormones that increase insulin secretion. One of the main jobs of incretins, once they are secreted by the small intestine in response to food, is to increase insulin production from the pancreas and slow the absorption of glucose from the gut, he explains. In the end, the results include better glucose control, in addition to weight loss. Weight loss for diabetic patients can make all the difference, Dr. Tawfik says. And in some cases, patients can eventually be freed for life from insulin injections or other diabetic medications if the weight loss is significant enough. In addition to the excess weight, Margaret was also having vision problems prior to the Victoza injections. I had some bleeding in my eyes and my vision was just not good overall, Margaret explains. I was getting quite frustrated with that as well. Weight loss success The weight loss component of his practice, the doctor is pleased to report, has been effectively assisting patients for approximately five years now. I am very pleased with the office and with Dr. Tawfik. I trust them and would recommend them to anyone, says Margaret. The many benefits of weight loss include increased energy level, reduced blood pressure, reduced aches and pains, improved breathing, better sleep, and increased mobility. During our first consultation, we meet with our patients and review their medical and dietary histories. We perform an EKG, take their weight and body fat measurements; prescribe applicable medications, supplements, and injections; and design an exercise and diet program tailored to meet their individual needs and goals. Most patients are surprised by the effectiveness of the program, Dr. Tawfik shares. Their first impression is often, Wow, how could I do that? There is no way. But then they come back a week later and say, Doc, I couldn t believe it. Those medications worked. According to Dr. Tawfik, the eating program begins with five days of very lean protein followed by five days

4 4 of 5 1/9/2014 9:22 AM of higher-calorie protein lean as opposed to very lean giving patients more menu options from which to choose. During medical school and my residency, it was very difficult to lose weight, recalls Dr. Tawfik. Once I started practicing, I realized the importance of controlling what I was eating and how much of it I ate. A patient should not come to a weight loss center only to see a doctor who is overweight himself. Regular check-ups Steps Dr. Tawfik suggests to lose weight include educating yourself on the programs that are available based on age, amount of weight you want to lose, setting a realistic goal, and formulating a structured plan with your doctor that includes proper follow-up appointments. Non-diabetic and diabetic weight loss patients alike are monitored regularly. Another crucial component of his practice, Dr. Tawfik notes, is that patients receive medical check-ups while they are on the weight loss program. When they come to the office for their diet injection, we measure heart rate, blood pressure, etcetera. If there s even a slight increase in those areas compared to the last visit, it becomes a medical visit. Such instances are rare, the doctor stresses, but the ability to respond to medical concerns immediately is an important benefit of choosing Hernando Diabetes Treatment Center and Hernando Physicians Weight Loss. The Victoza insulin has been a miracle for me, Margaret raves. It really has worked for the weight and vision. My glucose numbers are finally where they need to be. I feel better than ever. Margaret says Dr. Tawfik and the staff at Hernando Diabetes Treatment Center are thorough and professional with the care they provide. I ve never had so many tests done before, Margaret says. It is really great, too, because they check everything right there in the same office. It makes me feel really good to know that they care so much and are looking [out for] my overall health and other factors that are associated with diabetes. Margaret keeps a close eye on the foods she eats and says she feels like she can move around much easier now that she has shed some of the pounds. I watch what I eat and try not to eat so much fatty food and try to keep it as balanced as I can, Margaret explains. I know I have to be aware of the choices I make. Moderation is great. I used to be morbidly obese and now I am feeling so much better. I am very pleased with the office and with Dr. Tawfik. I trust them and would recommend them to anyone.

5 5 of 5 1/9/2014 9:22 AM 215 Bullard Parkway, Temple Terrace, FL Florida Health Care News, Inc.

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