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Question:

From Provo, Utah, USA:

Diabetes runs in my family so I am very interested in this disease. I understand that they have changed the blood sugar level so that more people will be diagnosed with diabetes. How will this change things? Will this affect more children? I am very curious. What were the levels changes from and what were they changes to?

Answer:

To answer your question I have to remind you that the test for diabetes diagnosis is generally the measurement of fasting blood sugar. Until June 1997, we have generally used the values published back in 1979 by the Ameican Diabetes Association and then accepted by the World Health Organization (WHO). This defined diabetes as being present if blood sugar was over 140 mg/dl (fasting) or 200 (random).

These numbers, and the values for "normal" blood sugar, have just been revised, declaring fasting blood sugar levels above 126 to be diabetes. This assumption came from epidemiological data indicating that the risk of microvascular complications (eye and kidney) from high blood sugar levels increases significantly around 126 mg/dl. Certainly, this new criteria will cause more people to be diagnosed with diabetes sooner, and it is calculated that this will bring up to two million Americans with newly diagnosed diabetes into health care system and related increased costs but it is foreseen that appropriate early treatment will decrease the developing and costs of diabetes-related complications with a consequent net benefit.

MS

[Editor's comment: The new criteria are listed at this website, at Classification and Diagnosis of Diabetes. WWQ]

Original posting 24 Dec 97

  
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Last Updated: Tuesday April 06, 2010 15:08:56
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