Living with Diabetes? Medical Advancements Ease Disease Management, Improve Results

Brian Robinson in clinic

Dr. Brian Robinson is an Endocrinologist at St. Peter's Health.

November 20, 2019

More than 30 million people, or 9.4 percent of the population, in United States have diabetes, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). In fact, 77,000 people right here in Montana have been diagnosed with the disease.

For many people who have diabetes, both type 1 and type 2, monitoring blood glucose levels and taking insulin can be part of daily life.

Advancements in blood glucose monitoring are helping millions of people living with diabetes. Combined with patient education, continuous blood glucose monitoring allows people living with both type 1 and type 2 diabetes to better manage their condition and help prevent medical complications or illness.

Those positive benefits are being seen in Helena.

Benefits of continuous glucose monitoring

St. Peter’s Health Diabetes Educator Cynthia Overturf, RD, CDE works closely with Endocrinologist Dr. Brian Robinson to help patients with diabetes manage their condition. According to Cynthia, the benefits of continuous glucose monitoring cannot be understated. With the introduction of FreeStyle Libre and the Dexcom G6, patients who use the monitor no longer have to remember to stick themselves multiple times a day and data on glucose levels is available 24/7.

“One of the largest benefits of continuous monitoring is that it gives us trend information. For example, if a patient is on continuous glucose monitoring, they can see that when they eat something specific, let’s say a piece of cake, their levels rise. Understanding what leads to increased glucose levels can result in behavior modification and improved management of the disease,” Overturf said. 

Endocrinologists, specialists who deliver care for people with diabetes and other diseases and disorders of the endocrine system, work with patients to determine if they are good candidates for continuous glucose monitoring. It's diabetes educators like Cynthia who make sure patients understand the monitor and have the support they need to successfully manage the disease outside the exam room.

“As a physician, I can’t do it all,” said Robinson. “I work with patients to decide whether continuous monitoring is a good idea, but I rely on our team of diabetes educators to work directly with patients. Our diabetes educators spend a great deal of time one on one with patients–sometimes hours–to ensure that they know how to use the device and make the best decisions possible to manage their diabetes.”

According to the American Diabetes Association, 1.5 million Americans are diagnosed with diabetes each year. Plus, in 2015, 84.1 million Americans over the age of 18 had prediabetes, a condition that means that blood sugar levels are higher than normal. The vast majority of people who have prediabetes don’t know it.

Annual Wellness Appointments

We encourage everyone to schedule an annual wellness appointment with their primary care physician to discuss any risk factors you may have.

  • Need to establish care with a primary care physician? Call us at 447-2847.
  • Learn more about Clinical Nutrition and Diabetes Education at St. Peter’s Health here