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Q: My adult son was just discharged from Maui Memorial Medical Center and while he was there, the doctor told him he was prediabetic. I'm so worried that it will turn in to diabetes. How can I help him avoid that?

I'm happy to say that you've already taken the important first step to be proactive and seek ways to help your son avoid progressing to diabetes. Acknowledging that something must be done is very important.

Your son was diagnosed with prediabetes because his A1C was higher than normal but not enough to be diagnosed with diabetes. He should consider this as a warning and get serious about his health immediately. Prediabetes can be reversed if treated properly and with substantial and consistent lifestyle modifications.

Several factors can contribute to type 2 diabetes and being overweight is the biggest risk factor. If this is the case for your son, he should focus on losing weight through diet, exercise, and other lifestyle changes. Incorporating healthier foods, limiting calories and avoiding sugar-sweetened beverages will also help him lose weight and improve his overall health. Make sure he consults with his doctor about diet and exercise, as they know his specific needs as it relates to glucose levels and how to ease into exercise. It is also important for anyone who is prediabetic or diabetic to monitor blood sugar levels.

At Maui Memorial Medical Center, we provide counseling for diabetes and pre-diabetes patients while they are staying in the hospital and provide information and resources to them prior to discharge. The Food and Nutrition Services team prepares meals to meet the dietary specifications that are provided by our licensed dietitians for each patient. Because people with diabetes are at risk for heart disease, these meals are lower in sodium and saturated fat and consist of more whole grains.

We also host a Diabetes Support Group meeting on the second Wednesday of each month. The topics vary each month and special guest speakers cover topics like maintaining glucose levels, meal planning, controlling medications, and exercise tips, as well as information on some of the side effects of diabetes like loss of vision, and nerve and kidney damage. Call 808.442.5773 for more information.