Experts say prediabetes screenings are an important way to combat disease

GREENVILLE, N.C. (WITN) – Most of us know the impact of diabetes first or secondhand. Experts recommend getting ahead of it through prediabetes testing.

The CDC says type 1 diabetes is thought to be caused by an autoimmune reaction, and no one knows how to prevent it. On the other hand, type 2 diabetes, which is far more common, develops over many years and can be prevented with healthy lifestyle changes.

“You can reverse prediabetes, but you have to stay on top of it,” lifestyle coach Ronita Jones said.

One way to do that is by getting your A1C checked. That number will determine if you have prediabetes or diabetes.

Jones set up shop at the Pitt County Health Department Tuesday to do that.

Brittany Kinder is a registered nurse and stopped by to be tested.

“Any time you have the option and availability to screen, and it’s free, why not?” Kinder said. “This is the age that, if I were to be maybe prediabetic or right there at the cusp of having prediabetes, time to make the changes that need to be made.”

In just Pitt County, one in three people have prediabetes with 90% being unaware. Testing for it seems like a simple process, so WITN’s Courtney Bunting tried it out for herself. She started by filling out some paperwork to determine her risk category. Then with just a tiny prick of the finger, her blood was drawn and tested.

The results?

“Your results look good. Your A1C is in the normal range,” Jones said. But even though you can be at a healthy level today, Jones did have some advice.

“Make sure you continue to eat healthy, or even eat healthier,” Jones explained.

It’s not always a comfortable conversation to know where your health stands, but the earlier you get ahead of it, the better your chances are of living a long, healthy life.

“My mother’s 103, and she was diagnosed with diabetes in her mid-80′s,” Jones said. “Diabetes is manageable.”

As a lifestyle coach, Jones has a free program for people who are prediabetic to work on things like healthier eating, exercise, and managing stress.

To qualify, you must have no diabetes diagnosis, an HbA1C test ranging from 5.7-6.4%, be 18 or older, not be pregnant, and have a prediabetes risk test score of 5 or higher. You can answer the last question by heading here. Jones can be reached at (919) 641-6863.

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