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Are you at risk for Prediabetes or Diabetes?

March 26 is Diabetes Alert Day


Dr. Johnathon Justice, Aspirus Family Medicine Physician

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), more than 133 million people in the U.S. have diabetes or prediabetes. Of those adults, one in five did not even know they had the condition.


Diabetes is a chronic medical condition characterized by high levels of glucose (sugar) in the blood and can cause a heart attack, stroke, blindness, kidney failure, or loss of feet or legs.


Prediabetes, on the other hand, is when your blood sugar levels are higher than normal, but not quite at the diabetes level yet.


“If we don't catch prediabetes early or manage it properly, it can progress into Type 2 diabetes,” says Johnathon Justice, MD, Aspirus Family Medicine Physician. “I would encourage people to understand the risks of and be screened for prediabetes and diabetes.”


Diabetes risk factors include:

  • Being overweight
  • Having a parent or sibling who has Type 2 diabetes
  • Lack of physical activity (fewer than three times per week)
  • Some ethnic groups are at a higher risk for Type 2 diabetes

Dr. Justice says the good news is that Type 2 diabetes can be delayed or prevented in people with prediabetes or diabetes risk factors through effective lifestyle programs.


“Modest lifestyle modifications, such as dietary changes and increased physical activity, people can decrease the likelihood of developing Type 2 diabetes.”


Here is a checklist of recommendations to help reduce the risk of diabetes or prediabetes:

  • Increase your physical activity. Before you jump into a rigorous exercise routine, talk to your doctor about what physical activities are most beneficial for your body. Start slowly to avoid injury and work your way up to 30 minutes of exercise five days per week. Things like walking, swimming, and dancing could help keep your blood sugar from spiking.
  • Choose foods wisely. Carbohydrates like bread, grains, starches, milk, and fruits have the biggest effect on blood sugars. Focus heavily on controlling portion sizes of those foods and balance them with foods like vegetables, lean proteins, and heart healthy fats. A registered dietitian should help you customize a meal plan.
  • Check blood sugar regularly. Keep an eye on what you eat and how it affects you by testing your blood sugar. The American Diabetes Association’s guidelines say between 80-130 mg/dl before you eat and under 180 mg/dl about two hours after you eat is ideal. But everyone is different, so talk to your doctor about what range is best for you.
  • Get in the know. Talk to a certified diabetes educator to learn how to self-manage type 2 diabetes, including ongoing treatment. Diabetes educators provide information about how exercise and food choices affect blood sugar and preventing things like eye or kidney damage. The more you know, the easier it is to make healthy choices.
  • Check in with your doctor regularly. Treatment needs to change depending on your blood sugar levels. Make appointments for regular checkups with your doctor to ensure you are up to date on your regimen.

“Remember, the best time to start preventing Type 2 diabetes is now,” says Dr. Justice. “Making small, sustainable lifestyle changes can have a significant impact on reducing your risk of developing diabetes and improving your overall health and well-being.”


Talk to your health care clinician for guidance or to get tested for diabetes or prediabetes. To learn more about diabetes care at Aspirus, visit



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