Friday, September 12, 2008

More than 50 million Americans have pre-diabetes

Early detection can make all the difference. In cancer and heart disease, for example, early diagnosis means early intervention and an increased likelihood of recovery. For those at risk of diabetes, the gray area between healthy and sick is an ideal place to change habits and redirect the future.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimates that nearly 57 million Americans 21 and older have blood glucose levels considered above normal but below what qualifies as "diabetic." That is twice as many Americans who have been formally diagnosed with diabetes.

The good news is that, while pre-diabetes is a danger zone, the diagnosis offers a chance to readjust lifestyle and ward off the development of full-blown diabetes. "People with pre-diabetes already have a 50 percent higher risk of heart disease and stroke," writes Dr.Valerie Ulene for the Los Angeles Times. Add to that the fact that 25 percent of those with pre-diabetes will develop diabetes within three to five years, and that diabetes symptoms -- cardiovascular, kidney and eye disease -- often begin during this precursor stage and the gray area becomes even more significant.

Unlike the permanent effects of diabetes, simple lifestyle changes for people with pre-diabetes can literally turn the progress of the disease around. Losing a small amount of weight, getting moderate daily exercise - approximately 150 minutes per week - and improving one's diet may be enough to stop the disease in its tracks, if not just delay the condition from worsening.

"If pre-diabetes is allowed to progress, it's very hard to treat effectively," said Dr. Yehuda Handelsman, co-chairman of the American College of Endocrinology's task force on the management of pre-diabetes. "The earlier we intervene, the better." Read the rest of the article here.

1 comment:

Dr. Charles Martin said...

Thank you for your efforts to inform more people about this epidemic. We share your commitment.

Gum disease is considered the sixth complication of diabetes. If you have prediabetes and gum disease together, you are more likely to develop diabetes. Gum disease and diabetes interact with each other, worsening both.

There is more about this on our Dentistry For Diabetics blog.

A prediabetes and diabetes risk calculator is available at the American Diabetes Association site.