Michelle Rupp: Hello and welcome to this week’s edition of AFMC TV. We’re so happy that you’re joining us today. Joining me this morning is Mary Gupton. She is one of the employees here at AFMC, and Mary, you have a rather extensive background in diabetes. You are certified to teach diabetes to those of us out in the community. How are you today?

Mary Gupton: I’m fine. How are you, Michelle?

MR: Doing well. Thank you. November is diabetes awareness month. You and I are going to talk about Type 2 Diabetes specifically. There’s so much that we can talk about. Twenty, 30, 40, 50 years ago, a diagnosis of diabetes did not generally bode well. Those outcomes generally were not pleasant ones. But we are in 2021. Would you agree that things have changed a little?

MG: I would agree because if I got a diagnosis of diabetes sometime back, the first thing I would think of is drastic measures. We don’t want individuals to think that, especially when diagnosed with Type 2 Diabetes. You can prevent Type 2 Diabetes. You can delay it. It all comes from just adopting healthy lifestyle changes.

MR: So, if you receive that diagnosis, I think maybe the first thing you need to do is just kind of take a deep breath and then think about how you begin to attack it. How do we start to slow down that progression or reverse it once we’ve received that diagnosis?

MG: Yeah. Once you receive a diagnosis of Type 2 Diabetes, I hope the provider will direct you to someone that can put you in a self-management class. The whole thing is managing your lifestyle. You have to monitor your eating habits. Are you moving, are you exercising? Typically, if I receive the diagnosis, I want to make sure that I ask my health care provider, “Is there someone that can talk to me about this diagnosis, and is there a way that I can prevent it from progressing?” You know, if you check my A1c number and it’s above 7%, “How can I decrease that and not have that diagnosis?” Ask your health care provider to direct you to someone that can explain how you can make those changes and improve your blood sugar levels to get them back to normal. Ask about your numbers. What is the normal range? That’s the critical thing you want to maintain. Make sure you maintain your A1c numbers to slow down the progression of diabetes. You know, we have over 800,000 adults in Arkansas that have been diagnosed with prediabetes.

MR: Over 800,000 with prediabetes. Wow.

MG: So, you’re looking at that A1c number. You know it needs to be decreased. You know it can just through lifestyle changes. It’s time to start making some changes.

MR: Let’s take a step or two back. If you are one of the 800,000 with a prediabetes diagnosis, I think that means starting to make changes now. You don’t want to cross over.

MG: Right. And we’re talking about someone that has an A1c – an A1c is a blood test that your health care provider administers for a 2-to-3-month period. You want to make sure you get a good range to see what’s going on. I could have just had a doughnut and an energy drink or something before I went into the office. You’re not going to be diagnosed the first time that you are out of the healthy range. That’s why see what it is running over time. If you’re seeing something between 5.7 and 6.5, you’re in that prediabetes stage. You want to make sure that you get that number below 5.7 percent. To do that, ask questions. Ask your provider, “What are some things that I can do to make that change?” One of them will be diet. A lot of people don’t want to hear that. And it’s not saying to put you on a diet. Nobody wants to be placed on a diet. But it’s teaching you or showing you how you can better prepare the foods that you love. When I’m preparing a meal, I don’t fix anything special, even for my husband. I fix the meal that will be for both of us, because guess what, we all need some type of balanced meal.

MR: Yeah. Like we say, a balanced meal, a balanced life, and a balanced home that’s what we need. Mary, thank you so much for joining us this morning. Is there a particular website that we might direct people to if they just want some basic education? If they don’t have that relationship with their health care provider, what’s a website we could point them to.

MG: You can always go to the American Diabetes Association website. The CDC also has a lot of information, but the American Diabetes Association website can route you to management programs available in your state.