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Preventing diabetes complications

Dr. Aundrea Loftley, Associate Professor of Medicine and an Endocrinologist at MUSC.
Dr. Aundrea Loftley, Associate Professor of Medicine and an Endocrinologist at MUSC.

This week Bobbi Conner talks with Dr. Aundrea Loftley about preventing diabetes complications. Dr. Loftley is an Associate Professor of Medicine and an Endocrinologist at MUSC.


Conner: I'm Bobbi Conner for South Carolina Public Radio with Health Focus here at the radio studio for the Medical University of South Carolina in Charleston. Careful and consistent diabetes care and management can reduce the risk of serious complications. Doctor Aundrea Loftley is here to talk about the details. Doctor Loftley is an Associate Professor of Medicine, and she's an endocrinologist at MUSC. Doctor Loftley, what are some of the potential complications related to diabetes?

Dr. Loftley: There are several potential complications related to diabetes, but I think I'd like to just highlight a few of the most common. There are macrovascular complications. So, this is a term you'll hear, and it's really just referring to complications that affect the large vessels in the body. And then there are microvascular complications. And microvascular is referring to complications that affect smaller vessels. Some of the large vessel complications include heart disease, stroke and peripheral vascular disease. And our small vessel complications are eye disease, which includes diabetic retinopathy, and kidney disease, and nerve disease, which is known as diabetic neuropathy.

Conner: And does the risk of complication increase over time? Or is it all about managing diabetes carefully?

Dr. Loftley: The longer someone has diabetes, the more likely they are to experience complications in their lifetime. But I'd like to offer some reassurance. This is the reason why optimizing your diabetes control is really, really important. Because you can live a life with diabetes and have minimal complications or no complications.

Conner: Well, what are the components of managing diabetes carefully and consistently?

Dr. Loftley: There are several things, and all of these things really work together. So healthy lifestyle is number one. And this is really including eating appropriate foods, avoiding inappropriate foods, getting exercise, getting adequate sleep, and stress reduction. So, none of us can avoid stress and life entirely, but working on ways to manage your stress can also help you lead a more healthy lifestyle. Blood sugar monitoring is, of course, very important. Taking medications as prescribed. If you are on agents for diabetes management, it's important to take them regularly and the proper way. And then of course, regular checkups are advised.

Conner: Tell us more details about a healthy diet for someone who has diabetes.

Dr. Loftley: The American Diabetes Association recommends a diet that's pretty well balanced. It's a good balance of carbohydrates, protein, and fats. But there is not one specific diet that's recommended for everyone because everyone's needs are different. For instance, if you have diabetes and heart disease or diabetes and kidney disease, you will need to be on a diet that takes all those things into consideration. So, for additional guidance, I recommend visiting the American Diabetes Association web page . And, speaking with your diabetes care provider about a referral to a dietitian so that you can receive medical nutrition therapy that is truly tailored to meet your individual needs.

Conner: Doctor Loftley thanks for this information about reducing risk of diabetes complications.

Dr. Loftley: Thank you.

Conner: Bobbi from the Radio Studio for the Medical University of South Carolina in Charleston, I'm Bobbi Conner for South Carolina Public Radio.

Health Focus transcripts are intended to accurately represent the original audio version of the program; however, some discrepancies or inaccuracies may exist. The audio format serves as the official record of Health Focus programming.

Bobbi Conner has been producing and hosting public radio programs for over 30 years. She was the longtime host of the national Parents Journal public radio program. Conner has lived in the Charleston area for over twenty years.