Diabetes Alert Day is recognized every fourth Tuesday of March. In the United States, approximately 96 million adults have prediabetes, yet most people are unaware they have it. The good news is prediabetes is reversible! Without making healthy changes, a person with prediabetes will often go on to develop type 2 diabetes.
A good way to reverse prediabetes is to attend a National Diabetes Prevention Program (National DPP). A National DPP is designed to help people with prediabetes and those at high risk for developing diabetes, prevent or delay the onset of type 2 diabetes. This is a year-long program focused on lifestyle change – empowering individuals to make healthier eating choices and add more movement to their day. By gradually making changes to improve nutrition and physical activity, participants create healthy habits that lead to weight loss and reduce their risk for developing chronic disease.
Nikki Johnson, MS, RD, LRD, leads the National DPP for North Dakota State University (NDSU) Extension. Johnson reports initially being interested in prediabetes because of her educational background in nutrition, dietetics, and health promotion
Johnson states, “Prediabetes has been on my radar for quite some time. If you have never heard of prediabetes, it means that your blood sugar (glucose) levels are higher than normal, but not high enough to be diabetes. The topic of prevention was right up my alley. Second, and more importantly, my dad had prediabetes that went undiagnosed and then was overlooked for too long. He now has type 2 diabetes.”
Although her dad is doing a stellar job managing his disease, she wishes he could have known earlier so he could have made changes for prevention. His story pushed her to keep advocating for prediabetes awareness and diabetes prevention efforts.
Johnson became involved with the National DPP in 2014 and has seen lives changed through successful weight loss, improved blood glucose levels, and increased activity. NDSU Extension National DPP attendees have reported other successes, such as decreased pain, more energy to play with kids/grandkids, and improved sleep.
Johnson’s hope is to help others prevent or delay developing type 2 diabetes. The first step to this is getting more people to know their risk. Completing a risk test takes less than a minute and can be found at http://www.cdc.gov/prediabetes/takethetest/. Those who score a five or higher are encouraged to reach out to their primary care provider for follow-up.
National DPP classes are offered in-person, online, and through distance learning options. Healthcare professional are encouraged to refer individuals at risk for developing diabetes to enroll in a program.
Source: Great Plains QIN Q Insider February 2022