Overreaction: Rates Soar for Prediabetes, A Condition No One Heard of Until 10 Years Ago

What if you gave a condition and everybody came? The New York Times takes a skeptical view of the fuss being made over prediabetes. The newspaper points to a website doihaveprediabetes.org, that features an online test that helps respondents figure out whether they have the condition. Apparently 1 in 3 Americans do.

But the Times also cites an analysis in JAMA Internal Medicine that states that 80% of Americans over 60 would be told by the test that they have prediabetes. And 60% of those over 40, meaning that about 73.3 million people have it.

When a patient has blood glucose of 126 milligrams per deciliter or higher, he’s considered to have diabetes. A blood glucose level of 100 mg/dL to 125 is considered prediabetes. Only about 15% to 30% of those with prediabetes go on to have diabetes, according to the CDC.

But it’s mostly older people who get it, and they can very well die of something other than diabetes. In addition, the Times notes that if the U.S. used the same prediabetes guidelines as the World Health Organization, which says the condition starts at 110 mg/dL instead of 100 mg/dL, it would reduce the number of Americans with prediabetes by half.  

Source: New York Times