By: Staff Reports | Gwinnett Citizen

Gwinnett Medical Center Can Help You Stop Diabetes STAT!
By Sarah Bignotti, RD, LD, CDE
Certified Diabetes Educator
GMC Diabetes & Nutrition Education Center

If you are one of the 86 million American adults with pre-diabetes, Gwinnett Medical Center is here to help by offering a pre-diabetes class.  With the increased incidence of obesity and inactive lifestyles, pre-diabetes is on the rise.  

Unfortunately, most people who have it don’t even know it.  If pre-diabetes goes undetected and important lifestyle changes are not made, studies show that most people with pre-diabetes develop Type 2 diabetes within ten years. 

What Exactly is Pre-Diabetes?

Some foods we eat, when digested, turn into sugar (glucose) in the body.  Insulin is a hormone that helps remove this sugar (glucose) from your blood and move it into your cells to provide you with energy.  When insulin does not work properly—also known as insulin resistance—glucose can start building up in the blood and can lead to pre-diabetes.  This means that the glucose level in the blood is higher than normal but not high enough to be called diabetes.  If not treated early, blood glucose levels continue to rise and can lead to Type 2 diabetes.

Why Prevent Pre-Diabetes from Progressing to Type 2 Diabetes?

Sometimes I’m asked if Type 2 diabetes is still such a big deal, with all the modern monitoring technology and medications available.  The answer is yes, Type 2 diabetes is a big deal.   If inadequately treated, it can lead to damaged nerves and blood vessels that can cause complications like heart disease, stroke, blindness, kidney failure and lower-limb amputations.  So taking steps to prevent the progression of pre-diabetes to Type 2 diabetes is important to maintain a good quality of life and hopefully prevent health problems in the future.

How Would You Know if You Have Pre-Diabetes?

Your chances of having pre-diabetes are increased if you:
•are overweight
•are physically inactive
•have a parent or sibling with diabetes 
•had a baby weighing more than nine pounds
•had gestational diabetes
•have high blood pressure 
•have low HDL cholesterol
•have high triglyceride levels
•are African American, Native American, Hispanic/Latino, Asian American or Pacific Islander American.

If you have any of these risk factors, you should follow up with your doctor to have your blood glucose levels tested. 

Free Pre-diabetes Classes from GMC in 2016 If you have been diagnosed with pre-diabetes or have risk factors associated with developing pre-diabetes, you can take steps to prevent Type 2 diabetes. The first step is to call the Diabetes and Nutrition Education Center at Gwinnett Medical Center to sign up for a FREE “Stop Diabetes STAT” class. In this class, a certified diabetes educator will teach you steps towards making effective lifestyle changes that can dramatically improve your health and reduce your risk of developing Type 2 diabetes. There is no fee to attend the class, but registration is required and class size is limited. Classes will be repeated each month in 2016, and will be offered at both GMC-Lawrenceville and GMC-Duluth. You only need to attend one class. Learn more or register by calling 678-312 6048.