by Kris Haugen, Health Educator

Diabetes is a chronic disease that causes blood sugar levels to rise higher than normal. Diabetes affects more than 29 million people. People with diabetes have an increased risk of heart attack, stroke, blindness, kidney failure, and loss of limbs. A condition called prediabetes occurs when blood sugar levels are higher than normal but not high enough for a diagnosis of type 2 diabetes. It is estimated that one in three Americans has prediabetes and at risk of developing diabetes, yet most do not know it! Chances are you know at least one person with diabetes and probably more than one with prediabetes.

Diabetes has no cure, but prediabetes can be reversed. If you are at risk of diabetes and are interested in making healthy changes, then the Diabetes Prevention Program is for you.

This is a year-long program led by a trained lifestyle coach who will introduce topics in a supportive, small-group environment and encourage participants as they explore how healthy eating, physical activity, behavior changes and weight loss can help reduce the risk of developing diabetes. Groups meet for 26 sessions. Classes are weekly for 16 weeks, then biweekly for two months, and then once a month for six months.

If you are interested in participating in an upcoming class near you, call the Diabetes Prevention Connection at the Minnesota Department of Health 888-643-2584 or visit health.mn.gov/diabetes/programs to get started!