One of Five of You Reading This Have Diabetes or Pre-Diabetes

I was surprised to learn this morning that the number of people who have pre-diabetes has more than doubled since the last estimate two years ago. My surprise was that I missed that last November the American Diabetes Association changed the definition of normal to a fasting blood sugar between 100 and 125. Even the CDC's Web page doesn't have the new definition yet. Previously it has been between 110. Interestingly, I had said the number should have been that for many years.

Under the old crietia, there used to be 16 million pre-diabetics in the United States and now there are 41 million, in addition to the 17 million with full-blown diabetes. According to the U.S. Census Bureau, here are 293 million people who live in the United States and since 59 million have the problem, that means 20 percent have either diabetes or pre-diabetes. Interestingly, in my own practice that number is significantly lower. We have over 10,000 tests in our electronic medical records database and we came up with the same percentage.

If you haven't had your fasting blood sugar taken recently, I would strongly encourage you to do so. It is a very inexpensive test that would be very helpful. The formal definition of pre-diabetes is blood sugars over 110 yet below 126. However, realistically it should be below 100. If your blood sugar is over 100 you will most certainly want to use the most effective drug known for diabetes, exercise.

CBS News April 29, 2004

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