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Source: Valerie Ulene, New York Times, September 8, 2008

Simple lifestyle changes such as exercise, weight loss and improved diet are often enough to bring blood glucose levels down to normal. Millions of Americans fall in between normal blood glucose levels and diabetic. Treatment, including exercise, better diet and weight loss, may prevent the full-on disease.

Diagnosing disease is not always a black-and-white undertaking. There is often a gray zone between sickness and health — a time when, technically speaking, people can’t be classified as either diseased or well. Diabetes serves as a perfect example — so much so that the gray zone has earned its own name: pre-diabetes.

As its name implies, pre-diabetes is essentially a precursor to diabetes. People with pre-diabetes have blood glucose levels above those considered normal but not yet high enough to qualify as diabetic.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, nearly 57 million Americans 21 and older have the condition, roughly twice as many as have diabetes itself.

Pre-diabetes is not only more common but also more treatable. If it’s diagnosed early, its ill effects can often be averted. In some cases, the condition can be cured.

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