Avera Medical Minute AMcK: Treating prediabetes seriously may lessen chance of a diabetes diagnosis

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According to the CDC, More than 84 million Americans have prediabetes, a condition that if not treated often leads to type 2 diabetes within five years.

Jo Anne Weins was diagnosed with prediabetes three years ago. A prediabetes diagnosis means that your blood sugar is not normal, but it’s not high enough to say you have diabetes.

“Prediabetes is something to take very seriously. One way to think about it is it’s kind of like the check engine light on your health dashboard. It really gives you an opportunity to make some lifestyle changes. There are very few health conditions that give us that warning and prediabetes is one of those things,” said Mary Oyos, diabetes program manager at Avera McKennan.

Weins took her prediabetes diagnosis very seriously and started making lifestyle changes by eating healthier and joining an exercise class at the Avera McKennan Fitness Center.

“I have always loved swimming and loved water sports. The class that I really felt made a big difference in my core strength is the deep water interval training,” said Weins.

Oyos says if someone chooses to ignore their prediabetes diagnosis, they’re very likely to develop type 2 diabetes within a few years.

“If they treat prediabetes, make healthy changes with eating, greater activity level and losing weight, they have up to a 60% chance of reducing their risk for progressing to two type 2 diabetes,” said Oyos.

It is possible to reverse prediabetes.

“In my December appointment with my doctor, I did receive the A1C score that showed that I was now out of the prediabetes range. So of course I need to keep doing what I’m doing and keep progressing so that I stay in that range and keep working back to hopefully staying away from diabetes as a diagnosis,” said Weins.

“Even if people do eventually develop type 2 diabetes, they have often delayed the onset and they’re much healthier overall,” said Oyos.

Weins has this message for others who have received a prediabetes diagnosis:

“Look at it as a gift. It is a chance that we’re being given with that diagnosis to really get smart, get some facts, get some direction, and some medical help, and then look at our lives and do something. That is the hardest thing for all of us to do, change our own life habits,” said Weins.

Prediabetes education classes are a great resource for those who have the diagnosis. The next class begins Monday February 26 at the Avera Diabetes Center at 5:30. For more information, call 605-322-8995.