When officials from the Serbian town of Bajina Basta issued a warning to residents that a long-slumbering vampire was on the loose again, it may have done more to increase tourism than prevent a public health crisis. But we think the recent suggestion from University College London and the Mayo Clinic that doctors stop diagnosing prediabetes because the warning doesn't seem to have any benefit is a case of bats in the belfry - and it could increase an already serious public health problem.
Elevated blood sugar levels by any name signal an increased risk of heart disease, sexual problems and, of course, full-blown Type 2 diabetes. Being aware of rising blood glucose lets you make lifestyle changes that add up to a healthier weight, a better sex life and a reduced risk of those real health vampires - diabetes, heart disease, cancer and depression.
We think an aggressive public health campaign to help motivate the 70 million North Americans with slightly elevated blood sugar levels to embrace diet and activity changes is what's needed. Then, if you're told that you have prediabetes, you'll be more likely to eliminate saturated and trans fats, added sugars and syrups, and any grain that isn't 100 percent whole; start a walking routine headed for 10,000 steps a day (get a walking buddy for support); and meditate (10 minutes daily) to reduce stress.
Then, when you reduce your glucose levels, you can say: "Thanks for the early warning! It helped me dodge the long-term hazards of prediabetes and diabetes!"
© King Features Syndicate