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Stopping Prediabetes In Its Tracks

There are two ways to address a diagnosis of prediabetes: The wrong way is to shrug it off and carry on as usual, with no changes to your diet or exercise regimen. The smart way is to view your diagnosis as a warning, take charge of your health, and prevent prediabetes from progressing to full blown type 2 diabetes.

Katy McDermott, a Registered Nutrition and Dietician and Diabetes Educator at MarinHealth, explains what prediabetes is and how it is diagnosed. Learn more about this insidious, asymptomatic condition and what you can do to manage it.
Stopping Prediabetes In Its Tracks
Katy McDermott, RDN, CDE
Katy McDermott is a Registered Dietitian Nutritionist and Certified Diabetes Educator with 13 years of experience in nutrition education. She is dedicated to provide quality care and support to people with type 1, type 2, Gestational Diabetes, and Pediatrics. 

Learn more about Katy McDermott, RDN, CDE

Bill Klaproth (Host): So, being told that you have type 2 diabetes can be a devastating diagnosis. You really don't want to go there with that. So, what is prediabetes? How do you even know you have it? How is it diagnosed? And how is it treated and why is it important that you know, these things? Well, let's find out with Katy McDermott, a Registered Nutrition and Dietician and Diabetes Educator at MarinHealth.

This is the Healing Podcast brought to you by MarinHealth. I'm Bill Klaproth. Katy, thank you so much for your time. It is great to talk with you. So, first off, can you provide a bit of background on yourself and your credentials?

Katy McDermott RDN, CDE (Guest): Yes, I'm a Registered Dietician Nutritionist and have been for 20 years. And also a Certified Diabetes Educator and have been for 13 years.

Host: All right, so let's jump into this then. We've all heard of diabetes, but what is prediabetes? How does someone develop prediabetes?

Katy: Prediabetes is blood sugar levels that are higher than normal, but not yet high enough to be diagnosed as diabetes. And how you develop prediabetes is usually there's family history or genetics, and also lack of exercise or being overweight.

Host: Okay, so higher than normal blood sugar levels. So, you're kind of on the way to full blown diabetes. Is that right?

Katy: Correct.

Host: I'm just curious, is this something that's prevalent in the Bay Area? We're all so active with many things to do. Is this a growing problem?

Katy: It's about 50% of people in Marin County have prediabetes. And in most of the Bay area, it's anywhere from 45 to 50% have prediabetes.

Host: Wow. Okay. Are there any symptoms to this? Is there any ways to recognize this?

Katy: Many times there's no symptoms. Some people, once they learn that they have prediabetes, do you connect the dots and say, oh, I've had an increased thirst or urination, which are symptoms of type 2 diabetes. But majority of our patients when they're diagnosed with prediabetes it's no symptoms are there.

Host: So, if you have a family history of diabetes, do you have an elevated risk for getting diabetes?

Katy: Yes.

Host: So, if you do have an elevated risk, this is something to pay attention to. And since there are no symptoms, how do you diagnose it?  

Katy: It's usually done by a lab test. They are looking at something called a hemoglobin A1C. Your hemoglobin A1C, how you diagnose for prediabetes is 5.7 to 6.4%. Or they also look at something called your fasting glucose. And how you diagnose would be from a 100 to 125 for prediabetes.

Host: So, when we see the commercials all the time talking about A1C, that's what it is. You're concerned about that A1C level.

Katy: Correct.

Host: Okay. So, if this goes unchecked, what health risks does it cause?

Katy: If it goes unchecked and untreated, then you're higher risk for developing type 2 diabetes and also cardiovascular disease.

Host: So, it sounds like it's good to catch this early, understand that you may have an elevated risk and take steps ahead of time before it turns into full blown diabetes.

Katy: Correct.

Host: So, then what can someone do if they have been told or a suspect due to an elevated risk that they have prediabetes?

Katy: Research shows that if you can lower your risk for type 2 diabetes by 58%. And there's two ways you can do that, is by losing 5 to 7% of your body weight and or exercising moderately, which is 30 minutes a day, five days a week. So, you can definitely take control and by eating healthy, losing weight and exercising, lower your risk.

Host: Okay. So, it sounds like that's how you can stop or even reverse it. Is that possible by paying attention to diet and exercise?

Katy: That's correct. We have prediabetes classes and we also have a prediabetes year long program supported by the CDC. And we see it happen all the time. People are able to do their year long program, they lose 5 to 7% of their body weight, and they're able to exercise 150 minutes a week and lower their prediabetes risk or don't have prediabetes anymore.

Host: So, they say, you know, prevention is the best medicine. It certainly sounds like that's the case when it comes to prediabetes and diabetes.

Katy: Correct.

Host: So, that is definitely the good news. Well, Katy, thank you so much for talking to us about prediabetes. We really appreciate this. Thanks again.

Katy: Thank you.

Host: And that's Katy McDermott. And to learn more about diabetes care and the MarinHealth Braden Diabetes Center, please visit And if you found this podcast helpful, please share it on your social channels and check out the full podcast library for topics of interest to you. This is the Healing Podcast brought to you by MarinHealth. I'm Bill Klaproth. Thanks for listening.