House Call: The role of diabetes medication in managing diabetes

Properly treating and managing diabetes is extremely important in order to reduce risk of other serious health conditions such as heart disease, stroke, kidney disease, eye and nerve damage.

Therefore, it is important to remember that medication management is just one factor in treating the disease. Controlling blood pressure, reducing cholesterol and triglycerides, stopping smoking, maintaining a proper diet, and exercising are all crucial to the success of diabetes medications.

Specifically, the incidence of type 2 diabetes is increasing at an alarming rate, and fortunately, there has been a dramatic increase in advanced treatment options for the disease.

The field has gone from just two treatment class options in 1995 to fourteen current treatment class options — with several more advancements being researched.  Today, two classes of medication are being prescribed more often to treat type 2 diabetes: injectable incretin agents and oral incretin agents.

These medications help the pancreas produce more insulin. Another exciting new class of diabetes medications, known as sodium-dependent glucose cotransporters (SGLT), was just approved in March.

These treatments aim to promote significant weight loss, maintain better blood sugar levels and restore quality of life for type 2 diabetic patients.

Fortunately, Cone Health has an exceptional network of primary care physicians, endocrinologists, dieticians and other related medical professionals dedicated to educating the community about diabetes and providing individualized treatment to improve the health and quality of life of their patients.

Physician Background:

Dr. Stephen “Steve” South is a board certified endocrinologist and member of Cone Health Medical Staff.  Dr. South is a 1987 graduate of Bowman Gray School of Medicine.

He completed his residency in internal medicine at Roanoke Memorial Hospital and completed his fellowship in endocrinology at University of Virginia Medical Center.

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