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What did it take for Pete Ballurio of Rosenhayn to get his diabetes, blood pressure and weight under better control? A knowledgeable and dedicated care team from Inspira Medical Group, some user-friendly health care technology, and a strong desire not to add a third diabetes medication to his daily regimen. And if you want to hear his story, you might have to catch him before or after one of his 10-mile bike rides. At 74, Pete is taking full advantage of his newly improved quality of life.
Pete recalls the day that his physician, Bac Nguyen, M.D., of Inspira Medical Group Family Practice in Mullica Hill gave him a choice. His A1C had risen to 7.9, indicating that his diabetes was not well controlled. Dr. Nguyen told Pete that he could add another pill to his daily routine or participate in an innovative home monitoring program offered by Inspira Health. Known as Inspira Health+, it provides participants with wireless medical devices, such as blood glucose monitors, scales and blood pressure cuffs, that automatically transmit results to nurses for monitoring in real time, 24 hours a day.
For Pete, the monitoring is motivational and educational.
"It’s pretty nice, sort of like someone watching you, but not right on top of you. There is no one yelling at you," he explains. "I don't want to get bad numbers, I want to do better, so that they [the nurses and doctor] know."
"It keeps you aware of where you should be. Do I need to be more careful about what I eat? Or, do I need to do more exercise?
By all measures, Ballurio has done well. He and Dr. Nguyen get excited when they talk about the improvements in his health status. He has dropped about 15 pounds and lowered his blood pressure since enrolling in Health+ in February. But his greatest achievement has been his ability to control his blood sugar. Since it peaked at 7.9 in February, Pete has brought his A1C down to 6.9, indicating significant improvement of his diabetes. Unlike the familiar finger-stick test, which provides a snapshot of your blood glucose level at a given moment, an A1C measurement tells you how well your diabetes is controlled over time.
In addition to the motivation he derives from the program, he appreciates how the regular monitoring and feedback from his nurses and doctor have helped him better understand his body’s response to sugar, other simple carb intake and exercise. This enhanced understanding has been crucial to his success.
"It sort of lets you know what you can and can't eat. I think it also shows that you should eat smaller portions," says Pete. "Bagels shoot it [blood sugar] sky high."
Fortunately, exercise can bring it down. On one occasion, he decided to check his blood sugar before and after a bike ride. He discovered that it had dropped 50 points over the course of his ride. Occasionally, if he eats too many carbs at a meal he will follow it up with physical activity to keep his blood sugar in check.
In describing his patient’s success, Dr. Nguyen knows that Pete’s improved quality of life tells the story better than any number or vital sign ever could. As he sees it, Pete’s achievements perfectly illustrate how a collaborative, comprehensive, patient-focused approach to disease management can greatly improve a person’s quality of life.
And as pleased as Pete is about lowering his A1C, his blood pressure and his weight, it’s the bike rides and overall sense of well-being that have enhanced his life. Choosing Inspira Health+, over an additional medication, was clearly the right choice for Pete.
“We invest in leading-edge technology and programs to ensure that our clinicians and patients have all the tools they need to achieve the best outcomes and the highest quality of life. But it was Peter who took the first step to a different life. Congratulations to Peter and thank you for allowing the Inspira family to play a small role in your life-altering journey!”
–Amy B. Mansue, president and CEO, Inspira Health