Millions Have "Pre-diabetes"

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U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) officials are warning Americans and health care professionals of the risks of ?pre-diabetes??an increasingly common condition in which blood glucose levels are higher than normal but not yet diabetic.The new category encompasses nearly 16 million citizens who are at sharply increased risk for developing type 2 diabetes, which raises the risk of heart disease by 50%. Government research shows that most people with pre-diabetes will likely develop diabetes within 10 years unless they make modest changes in diet and physical activity.

An expert panel convened by HHS and the American Diabetes Association made some new recommendations about pre-diabetes. Overweight people age 45 and older should be screened for pre-diabetes, and screening should be done for adults younger than age 45 if they are significantly overweight and have one or more of the following risk factors: family history of diabetes, low high-density lipoprotein cholesterol and high triglyc-erides, high blood pressure, history of gestational diabetes or gave birth to a baby weighing more than 9 pounds, or belong to a minority group.

More than 17 million Americans suffer from diabetes?an 8% increase from the most commonly used previous estimate. The new estimate is based on population changes in the 2000 U.S. Census. For more information, visit www.niddk.nih.gov.