September 23, 2017

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Bringing Prediabetes Care to Willmar

Kellie Prentice, APRN, FNP-BC, CDE and Margaret (Peggy) Johnson, M.D.

Kellie Prentice, APRN, FNP-BC, CDE and Margaret (Peggy) Johnson, M.D.

Bill was 52 when he learned he was prediabetic. It came as a shock to him. He felt fine. He wasn’t really sure if there was something he should be doing about his prediabetes.

Bill is one of the estimated 79 million adults in the U.S. that have prediabetes. When someone has prediabetes, it means their blood sugar levels are higher than normal. Having prediabetes raises a person’s risk of type 2 diabetes, heart disease and stroke. Because there are typically no symptoms and it can only be diagnosed through a blood screening, only 10 percent of people know they have prediabetes.

Now patients like Bill have a resource to help them get their health back on track.  Willmar Diabetes Center and ACMC’s Weight Control Center have teamed up to develop a prediabetes care program.

“We’re really excited to be a resource for the community—to educate patients about prediabetes and what lifestyle changes they need to make so they don’t get type 2 diabetes or, at the very least, help slow the onset of it,” said Kellie Prentice, nurse practitioner, certified diabetes educator and director of the Willmar Diabetes Center.

She adds, “Prediabetes is reversible. Diabetes isn’t. We can treat diabetes, but there has been a big focus on getting on the other side of that to try to prevent the disease.”

That’s the main reason that prediabetes programs are popping up in communities throughout the nation, including right here in Willmar. Many prediabetes community programs provide basic assessments and education. The program at ACMC does that and more, combining the resources of the Weight Control Center and the Diabetes Center. They work together to develop an individualized care plan with goals including losing weight through healthy and mindful eating, getting more exercise and stopping tobacco use.

“Without weight loss and moderate physical activity, up to one-third of people with a diagnosis of prediabetes will get type 2 diabetes within five years,” said Dr. Margaret (Peggy) Johnson, director of the Bariatrics & Weight Control Center at ACMC.

Dr. Johnson adds, “But people with prediabetes who lose roughly seven percent of their body weight within six months of diagnosis dramatically reduce their risk of developing type 2 diabetes over the next three years.”

When caught early enough, prediabetes can be reversed. For others, these programs can delay the onset of type 2 diabetes, putting patients on the road to a healthier life.

“Helping our patients make intensive lifestyle changes to prevent diabetes requires additional support, time and individual attention. And that’s what we’ll be doing with this program,” Kellie said, “creating a healthier tomorrow for the people with prediabetes in our communities.”

The American Diabetes Association (ADA) recommends screening for all adults 45 years old and older. If a patient is younger than 45 and is overweight or obese and has risk factors for diabetes, the patient should be screened.

Risk factors include:

  • Having a family history of diabetes
  • Having high blood pressure, high cholesterol or high triglycerides
  • Having a sedentary lifestyle
  • Belonging to certain ethnic groups (Hispanic American, Asian American, Pacific Islander, Native American or African American)
  • History of gestational diabetes or giving birth to a baby weighing more than nine pounds
  • History of cardiovascular disease
  • Having a condition associated with insulin resistance (eg. polycystic ovary syndrome)

Though a physician may refer you, patients do not need a physician referral to be seen in the prediabetes care program. Call 320-441-5486 for more information or to make an appointment.