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How a patient reversed his prediabetes diagnosis

Rob Rolfes had health issues on and off for several years when he began seeing a new physician. After a set of routine new patient tests, Rolfes’ doctor called and said he needed to see him that day.

“I was terrified. I went in and spoke with him, and he said I was borderline diabetic,” says Rolfes. “He wanted to give me a chance to remedy the situation first.”

Rolfes says he had heard of prediabetes, but did not fully understand what a diagnosis meant for him.

“I started doing some research about what I needed to do and my treatment options,” he says. “I made a resolution to myself that I was going to make some changes in my life and try something to remedy this.”

Finding the right resources

His first step was visiting Piedmont’s Diabetes Resource Center, which he credits with helping him begin his lifestyle modifications.

“The people at the Diabetes Resource Center look at all of the things you already know how to do, like eat fewer calories and work out more, but they give you specific and focused directions as to what particular things you can do better,” he explains. “They were mentors, encouraging, always friendly, and they weren’t negative. They would nudge me in the right direction.”

Rolfes says the prediabetes diagnosis made him reconsider his priorities and likely changed his future for the better.

“If I had not gotten this diagnosis, five years down the road I’d be 260 or 270 pounds, not really paying attention to what I was eating. I would be diabetic and might have a stroke at some point in the not-so-distant future,” he says.

“I probably wouldn’t see my son graduate from high school or college, or see him get married.  I probably wouldn’t be able to live a long life with my wife. Those are things that are very important to me.”

Setting manageable goals

His message for people diagnosed with prediabetes: start with manageable goals.

“Small steps at first will get you a long way. It’s not difficult necessarily, but you do have to make some changes and decisions about what is important to you. I was 273 pounds at my heaviest and am now at 194. I’m striving for 180 pounds,” he says. “I sleep better every night, have more energy and feel better when I work out 45 to 60 minutes every day. This is my hobby now.”

Rolfes now runs an 8-minute mile and says his goal is to cut his time down to 6 minutes.

“Before, I was just trying to get out of my chair without sweating,” he says.

Rolfes’ lifestyle changes have also inspired his friends and family.

“Others in my life have taken notice and are trying similar efforts to make improvements in their lives,” he says. “Helping others has been very encouraging.”

For more information about preventing and managing prediabetes, visit Piedmont’s Diabetes Services.

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