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Top Doctors 2011 Profile: Serhat Aytug, M.D., Endocrinology in Middletown

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Medicine has always been a big part of life for Serhat Aytug, M.D., F.A.C.E. “My father was an administrator at a university medical school in Turkey, where I grew up. It was during those days that the dream of becoming a physician first occurred to me,” he says.

He went on to medical school in the city of Izmir, Turkey, formerly known as Smyrna. “It’s not far from where the pioneers of modern medicine, such as Hippocrates and Galen of Pergamon, practiced medicine — that was exciting to me, as a young medical student. In the areas where I lived, you can still see some ancient treatment centers; and in different areas of Europe people still come to use the warm-water springs.”

After medical school, Aytug moved to New York and completed his residency at the Mount Sinai School of Medicine; his internship was at Elmhurst Hospital, and he did rotations at both Elmhurst and Mount Sinai. “The Zip code of Elmhurst Hospital is 11373 — said to be the most ethnically diverse area in the United States. In just this small area, over 160 nationalities are represented, with over 100 different languages spoken,” he notes.

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Click here to view the Hudson Valley’s Top Doctors 2011 (opens PDF)

“I got to know people from around the world as well — as the different types of diseases affecting them. We saw diseases from the tropics, Africa, Asia, you name it,” says Aytug, who stayed an additional year at Elmhurst to serve as executive chief resident.

During his time at Elmhurst, Aytug first developed a special interest in his specialty field of endocrinology, which covers diseases such as diabetes; thyroid, pituitary and adrenal gland conditions; osteoporosis; and other hormonal disorders.

Aytug, a Fellow of the American College of Endocrinology, then did an endocrinology-diabetes-and-metabolism fellowship at Winthrop-University Hospital on Long Island, and a year of special training in pituitary diseases at the University of Virginia’s Endocrinology-Neuroendocrine Center. Before launching a full-time practice in the U.S., he spent two years practicing medicine in Istanbul. His sister is also a physician — a nuclear medicine specialist/M.D. — who practices in Ankara, Turkey.

Aytug — he’s board certified in internal medicine as well as endocrinology-diabetes-metabolism — moved to the Valley in 2005 and has served since then as an endocrinologist at Crystal Run Healthcare offices in Middletown, Goshen, and Rock Hill. He’s also affiliated with Orange Regional Medical Center, and Catskill Regional Medical Center (in Sullivan County).

(Continue on next page)

» Visit Crystal Run Healthcare in Middletown, Orange County, NY
» Visit Orange Regional Medical Center in Goshen, Orange County, NY
» Visit Catskill Regional Medical Center in Harris and Callicoon, Sullivan County, NY
» View the complete list of Top Doctors 2011
» Go to the Hudson Valley Health Guide for more doctors in the Hudson Valley, NY

 

dr. serhat aytugPhotograph by Michael Polito

Many of his patients are dealing with diabetes or thyroid problems. “Diabetes, especially, is on the rise. It’s a huge epidemic. We’re seeing it everywhere in the world, now even in developing countries. You combine a high caloric intake and a sedentary lifestyle. Particularly here in the U.S., people nowadays drive everywhere. We don’t walk anymore or exercise enough — then diabetes develops.”

Aytug cultivates a caring approach to patients. “Medical conditions such as diabetes can adversely impact a person’s life significantly,” he explains. “So I listen to each patient’s medical concerns carefully and discuss treatment plans with them openly. It’s important that patients feel well taken care of — having a good relationship with them has always been very rewarding.”

He treats many patients, such as those with diabetes or thyroid disease, over a long period. “They tend to stay with me, so I get to know them and their families. That’s a good thing about living here in the Valley; it’s more family oriented. You wouldn’t see that focus as much in a fast-paced, urban place.”

The complexity of dealing with chronic disease can be a challenge, Aytug says. “There may be physical and emotional setbacks, for instance, when a person has diabetes. They often need to change their eating habits, their lifestyle, and that can be hard for people. In our medical practice we also have a diabetes educator/nutritionist; we work as a team.”

New medical breakthroughs continue to offer help for patients, he says. “Nowadays, I’m particularly excited to see new developments in the areas of diabetes, osteoporosis, thyroid cancer, and lipid treatments.”

top doctors list

Click here to view the Hudson Valley’s Top Doctors 2011 (opens PDF)

He explains: “For example, different medications are available now; every few years a new class of drugs comes out. Insulin treatments have changed a lot; we now have a faster-acting insulin that’s put into a little pen-like device. Patients can carry the insulin pen; they just dial the pen and inject themselves. It’s quick-acting, so you don’t have to wait; you can inject and eat right away. It’s very convenient.”

Aytug and his wife live in Orange County; they have a young daughter. “She definitely keeps us busy,” he laughs. In his free time, he enjoys outdoor activities such as swimming and biking. He’s also a fan of watching basketball and soccer.

His good-health advice for people with diabetes or other endocrine problems actually applies to everyone, Aytug says. “By improving your health now, you can help prevent other possible problems down the road. If you have diabetes, controlling it can often prevent things like kidney problems, blindness, and nerve damage.

“And anyone who is overweight who loses some pounds reduces not just the risk of diabetes, but high blood pressure and cardiovascular risk factors decrease, too. It’s a package improvement. The sugar part is just the tip of the iceberg.” Exercise, too, is vital, he says. “Try for four or five times a week. You don’t have to do it all at once. Every little bit helps.”

» Visit Crystal Run Healthcare in Middletown, Orange County, NY
» Visit Orange Regional Medical Center in Goshen, Orange County, NY
» Visit Catskill Regional Medical Center in Harris and Callicoon, Sullivan County, NY
» View the complete list of Top Doctors 2011
» Go to the Hudson Valley Health Guide for more doctors in the Hudson Valley, NY

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