Diabetes occurs when a person’s blood sugar (or glucose) is too high. According to the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases, having too much glucose can lead to health problems, such as heart disease and stroke, hypoglycemia, diabetic neuropathy, kidney disease, and more.
While diabetes is irreversible, there are warning signs that can help lead a person to change their habits for the better – such as eating healthier and becoming more active – before they are diagnosed with type 2 diabetes.
According to the North Dakota Department of Health, roughly four out of 10 North Dakotans age 20 and older have prediabetes. Of those 202,000 adults, one out of 10 doesn’t know they have it. Nationally, approximately 84 million – or more than one in three – American adults have prediabetes, with 90 percent not knowing they have it.
People who have diabetes are at a higher risk of serious health complications, such as blindness, kidney failure, heart disease, stroke, and/or the loss of toes, feet, or legs.
If you find out you have prediabetes, it is important to see your doctor to get your blood sugar tested, eat healthy, be more active, and lose weight. You can also join a CDC-recognized diabetes prevention program in North Dakota.
One such program is Weigh 2 Change, which is available through the Trinity Health Center for Diabetes Education. Weigh 2 Change is a year-long, evidence-based program that helps people make positive lifestyle changes aimed at improving health and preventing type 2 diabetes. Based on the National Diabetes Prevention Program established by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the program incorporates key elements recommended by the CDC, including nutritional and exercise counseling, group support, and the use of trained lifestyle coaches.
“The way to delay or prevent diabetes is through weight loss and increased physical activity, which are two key components in this program,” explained Michelle Fundingsland, RDN, LRD, who leads the program. “It’s a one-year commitment, which might seem extensive, but our goal is to promote lasting lifestyle changes, which don’t happen overnight.”
Risk factors include being overweight, inactivity, and having a family history of diabetes. Research shows that people can lower their risk for type 2 diabetes by 58 percent by losing 7 percent of their body weight and exercising moderately 30 minutes a day, five days a week.
Participants interested in the program can attend one of the two Session Zero informational meetings offered on January 8 or January 15, 2020, from Noon to 1:00 p.m., at the Trinity Community Conference Room located at Health Center – Town & Country. Sessions start on January 22.
“People who attend Session Zero will complete a readiness-to-change questionnaire to help them determine whether the program is right for them,” Fundingsland said. “The questionnaire will help participants assess their readiness for the program, looking at time commitment and if they are ready to change eating and physical activity habits.”
To participate in Weigh 2 Change, participants must meet the following criteria:
- At risk for, or have, prediabetes
- Are not pregnant
- At least 18 years of age
- Do not currently have diabetes
People who decide to commit to the program and are not covered by Medicare will be charged a fee of $220, which covers educational sessions and materials for the entire year. For more information, call the Trinity Health Center for Diabetes Education at 701-857-5268.