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Prediabetes can be stopped in its tracks

Blood screening for prediabetes is typically for people 45 and older with a body mass index of 25 or higher. (Photo credit: WLOS Staff)

Cancer survivor Bryan Brooks' blood test showed he had prediabetes.

"It was enough to frighten me," said the 75-year-old retired community college president. "I don't need any more ailments."

"One tricky thing about prediabetes is that it is largely asymptomatic, which means people don't really have symptoms to warn them to get checked," Dr. Elizabeth Bernstein of Asheville Endocrinology, an affiliate of Mission Health, added.

Blood screening for prediabetes is typically for people 45 and older with a body mass index of 25 or higher.

Patients often have at least one risk factor, such as hypertension, high cholesterol, or a family history of diabetes.

"You do not have to go on to develop diabetes if you're diagnosed with prediabetes," insisted Bernstein. "That's why we recommend screening, because it's a disease that we can prevent."

"Between the exercise and feeling better, I have more energy," explained Brooks.

He has made other big changes -- including weight loss -- to prevent full-blown diabetes, which can lead to heart, kidney, and eye problems.

"It's a tremendous burden on families when someone has diabetes," said Bernstein. "It comes with personal complications, and the feeling you're not well."

But it doesn't have to, if you take control as early as possible.

As part of the prediabetes program, Brooks kept a journal of everything he ate and checked-in by phone with a health specialist once a week.

For more on the Mission prediabetes program go to: http://www.mission-health.org/diabetes

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