Local News

Doctors Push To Diagnose Younger People For Pre-Diabetes

Posted November 15, 2002 1:05 a.m. EST

— Pre-diabetes is a condition that left untreated, can lead to serious problems. For every one of the 17 million Americans with diabetes, there is a person with pre-diabetes.

Almost all of Arisa Fulmer's relatives have diabetes.

"My brother, mother, father, like I said two aunts, one uncle, grandmother, my husband," said Fulmer of her family history.

Fulmer's blood sugar is beginning to rise, even though doctors have not diagnosed her with diabetes yet.

"It's starting to creep up a bit," Fulmer said.

Doctors said fasting glucose levels less than 110 is considered normal. A patient is diagnosed with diabetes if blood sugar levels are 126 or higher on more than one test.

Pre-diabetes is when blood sugar is between normal and diabetic levels, according to doctors.

"It's a relatively new category," said endocrinologist Dr. James Coxe.

If pre-diabetes goes untreated, doctors said most people develop Type 2 diabetes within ten years.

"What's worse, is they're at increased risk for developing vascular disease, heart disease, hypertension, strokes," said Coxe.

Doctors predict there will be a push in 2003 to diagnose more people with pre-diabetes. New guidelines call for screening anyone ages 45 and older who are overweight.

"Once somebody has the pre-diabetes the damage is already starting," said Jeanne Hutson, a diabetes educator at



Hutson said losing weight through exercise and diet can reverse the damage.

"People with pre-diabetes who were able to lose as little as 5 to 7 percent of their body weight," said Hutson." (They) were able to eliminate their risk for having Type 2 diabetes."

Fulmer now exercises and monitors the amount of sugar in her diet. She is hopeful that the lifestyle changes will be enough to break her family cycle of diabetes.

"I don't want to be next," she said.