How to Monitor and Control Diabetes

Approximately one in three people in Arkansas has diabetes or prediabetes, making it one of the most common diseases that patients need to know about and regularly monitor. Most commonly diagnosed as type 1 or type 2, diabetes results in too much sugar in the blood for patients. Those with type 2 diabetes don’t respond normally to insulin, which causes their blood glucose, or blood sugar, levels to become too high. Type 1 diabetics have a condition in which their pancreas either doesn’t produce insulin or makes very little insulin. Regardless of the type, patients with diabetes must stay in contact with their doctors through regular checkups.

“The goal for any person with diabetes is to reduce the long-term risk of complications from this progressive disease,” said Physician Assistant Laura O’Hern at CHI St. Vincent Little Rock Diagnostic Clinic. “By controlling the sugars and following the monitoring regimen to keep on top of things, you are much less likely to suffer the complications of diabetes.”

O’Hern sat down to answer some common questions about the importance of monitoring diabetes at home and with a doctor.

When it comes to sugar, what do diabetic patients need to be aware of?

“Sugar is the number one thing for people with diabetes. They have to be aware of what they are consuming that contains sugar and also that they are taking their medications in the proper manner and timing. Otherwise, the sugar will get inside the bloodstream and not be absorbed to use for energy.”

How important is it to monitor blood sugar levels?

“It’s extremely important. Blood sugar monitoring tells both you and your medical provider whether or not your numbers are within target range. Monitoring regularly reveals any changes that need to be made with medication.”

What dietary changes would you recommend for diabetics?

“Eating smaller meals and including protein with your meals are just a couple of examples of steps that you can take that will allow your body to better process the sugar that is coming in from food.”

When dietary and lifestyle changes can be made at home, why is it important for patients with diabetes to have regular contact with a doctor?

“Diabetes is the leading cause of blindness, kidney failure and lower limb amputations in the United States. If you allow blood sugar levels to run high without contacting a medical provider, you can be at risk for many complications from diabetes.”

What do you believe is the most important thing for diabetic patients to remember?

“Diabetes is a progressive disease, so it will get worse with time. Sometimes that can be quite rapid and the decline can be very acute with blood sugar levels running higher than they should be over a couple weeks or months.”

Managing diabetes isn’t always easy, but that’s why CHI St. Vincent is here to help. At CHI St. Vincent Diabetes and Endocrinology Clinics, our goal is to provide you with excellent healthcare in a caring environment. Our team of highly qualified and trained professionals specializes in the treatment of diabetes, disorders of the thyroid, pituitary and adrenal glands, and other endocrine system-related problems. To learn more and find a clinic near you, visit