Prevention program helps local woman avoid Type 2 Diabetes

(Stevens Point, WI) –   When Wendy Wiernik, Junction City, went in for her annual checkup she was surprised to learn that she was on the brink of developing Type 2 Diabetes and was given the diagnosis of pre-diabetes.  Her blood-glucose levels were high but not high enough to put her in the full Diabetes category.  Though the diagnosis was startling, there was still time to turn things around.

After being referred to the Stevens Point Area YMCA Diabetes Prevention Program, a year-long program in partnership with Saint Michael’s Foundation, she did just that. Through classroom sessions, monthly meetings, and a 16-week free YMCA membership, the YMCA Diabetes Prevention Program teaches participants how to adopt and maintain healthy lifestyles as means to prevent developing Type 2 Diabetes.

“We met once a week in the boardroom at Ministry Saint Michael’s Hospital to discuss various related topics such as nutrition and exercise,” shared Wendy. “I was excited to get started; I thought if I can make healthy lifestyle changes for myself, I can lead by example for my kids as well.”

Wendy found the weekly sessions helpful not only by offering accountability, but also in being able to share with others facing similar situations.

“If I didn’t have the YMCA Diabetes Prevention Program I don’t know if I would have been as successful.  During one of the first few sessions, our instructor Julie recommended a website as a way to keep track of diet and activity.  I started using it immediately and have used it ever since,” stated Wendy.  

At a follow-up appointment with her clinician, Wendy was informed that through the lifestyle changes made in the previous six months she had avoided developing Type 2 Diabetes.

“It was a Saturday morning when I went in for my follow up lab appointment and I was a little nervous to get the results,” stated Wendy. “The amazing part, I still get goose bumps, is when I was first tested my blood-glucose was 161 and after six months it was at 86.  My A1c – hemoglobin had lowered from 6.1% to 5.2% (normal range 4.0% - 6.0%). I basically eliminated my chances of getting diabetes by joining and participating in the class.”

How does Wendy feel today? “I feel great. I’m more aware and in control of my own health. Plus, I have lost 35 pounds along the way.”

Although diabetes is a chronic and incurable disease (with the exception of gestational diabetes), with proper medical care, clinical therapies, diet, hygiene, and exercise, symptoms and complications can be successfully treated and managed.

The YMCA Diabetes Prevention Program fits into Saint Michael’s Foundation’s mission to raise funds for programs and services geared to enhance the quality of health care services for patients and families served by Ministry Saint Michael’s Hospital and Ministry Medical Group. The YMCA Diabetes Prevention Program is partially funded by Saint Michael’s Foundation.

“We know that medical expenses for patients with diabetes are more than two times higher than for people without diabetes,” shared Angie Heuck, Saint Michael’s Foundation Director. “In most cases, when a person’s overall health is improved, they not only improve their quality of life, but they reduce their medical expenses as a result. We hope others like Wendy will take advantage of this program to make a lasting impact.”

The Stevens Point Area YMCA is only one of 50 YMCAs in the country to offer the YMCA Diabetes Prevention Program. 

For more information about the YMCA Diabetes Prevention Program, call Brandy Proctor, Stevens Point Area YMCA Health & Fitness Director, at 715-342-2980 ext. 306.

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