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Are 'Pre-Diseases' and 'Borderline' Conditions Going Too Far?

A majority of American adults now fall within the guidelines for at least one pre-disease or borderline condition, and many meet criteria for several. After a 2001 change in federal treatment guidelines, for example, more than 104 million Americans, or 50 percent of all adults, are now considered to have either high cholesterol or borderline high cholesterol. While some say pre-disease designations will ultimately save lives and health care dollars, the U.S. medical system isn't set up to help people make the sort of lifestyle changes that can prevent borderline conditions from turning into disease. As the health care system stands today, labeling at-risk people only sets them up for over-treatment and overmedication--and the associated costs and side effects--when most 'pre-diseases' can be effectively addressed with lifestyle changes.

Washington Post February 10, 2004

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