New Clinical Nutrition Specialist Named at BBC

August 21, 2012

Amy E. Berns, RD, CDE, was recently named clinical nutrition specialist in the Bronson Battle Creek diabetes education department.  She will have responsibilities for the diabetes outreach programs.

A graduate of Michigan State University with a Bachelor of Science degree, Berns went on to complete a dietetic internship at the University of Michigan Health System.  She is a registered dietician, a certified diabetes educator, and is certified as a health and wellness coach.  She also completed the ‘certificate of training’ in adult weight management.  She is a member of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics with special interest in diabetes care and education practice in a group setting.
   
Battle Creek Health System, now proudly serving southwest Michigan as Bronson Battle Creek, is a 218-bed hospital that provides full outpatient and inpatient acute care including robotic surgery, diagnostics, and rehabilitation services; 100% all private rooms.  It also offers world-class diagnostic capabilities including PET/CT imaging, freestanding ‘open’ and traditional MRI, CT (16- and 64-slice), and 3.0 Tesla MRI.  Bronson Battle Creek has been recognized nationally as one of the safest hospitals, and has been a leader in the development of electronic health records as evidenced by multiple honors as one of America’s ‘most wired’ and ‘most wireless’ hospitals. The Commission on Cancer of the American College of Surgeons recognizes the Bronson Battle Creek Cancer Care Center as a Comprehensive Community Cancer Program, and the only hospital in Michigan to receive the CoC’s Outstanding Achievement Award three times in a row. Specialty services include the county’s largest accredited sleep center and a wound-healing center with hyperbaric oxygen therapy.

Diabetes is a chronic disease characterized by the body’s inability to make or use its own insulin to control blood sugar.  People with diabetes must regulate their blood sugar or risk serious health consequences.  More than 24 million children and adults in the United States have diabetes; 590,000 of them live in Michigan.  Those numbers increase dramatically when you add another six million that are unaware they have it.  

The cause of diabetes continues to be a mystery, although both genetics and environmental factors such as obesity and lack of exercise appear to play roles.

Type 1 diabetes, formerly called juvenile diabetes, can develop at any age, but the greatest incidence is in girls ages 10-12 and boys ages 12-14.  In this type of diabetes, the pancreas loses the ability to make insulin.  People with type 1 diabetes must follow a healthy meal plan and take injections of insulin every day.

Type 2 diabetes, which most often occurs in people over age 40 and in those who are overweight or obese, is now on the rise in eighth-grade age children and younger who are obese and do not exercise.  This type of diabetes can often be controlled through healthy eating, exercise and oral medications.

Since diabetes will not go away, it means that people diagnosed with it will go through various stages of adjustment until symptoms stabilize.  The goal is to get through those times so the patient can accept and manage their diabetes.  

The BBC diabetes education program offers instruction, group classes, diabetes counseling during pregnancy, and continuous glucose monitoring.  It also coordinates support groups to help adults, children, and women with gestational diabetes to successfully manage their conditions.  Registered nurses and dietitians who are certified diabetes educators lead all of the classes. 

Diabetes is often called a self-management disease, which means that the patient takes charge of their condition.  But that does not mean they have to manage it alone.  It is true that diabetics should make healthy food choices, stay physically active, monitor blood sugars, and take medications as prescribed by their physicians, but others can help too.  In fact, everyone who is pre-diabetic or diagnosed with diabetes should have a support team.   The person with diabetes is the captain of the group-- the others are there to support the diabetic’s efforts.  Team members may include a primary physician, nurse educator, dietitian, certified diabetes educator (CDE), podiatrist, kidney specialist, dermatologist, pharmacist, and others with knowledge and experience with the disease.  Family and friends can also play important roles on the team.

The Bronson Battle Creek Diabetes Center has a support group meeting every month.  The sessions include presentations on diet and nutrition; coping and stress management, exercise, medications, and other important topics that help diabetics better manage their condition.  If interested in participating in outpatient diabetes classes, please contact the diabetes center.  It can help the patient obtain a referral. 

For more information about diabetes, call (269) 245-8190.