America is in the grip of a diabetic epidemic. About 21 million of us have the disease, and many more have pre-diabetes. And all the indications suggest that the prevalence of diabetes will continue to soar in the years ahead.
Elevated blood glucose (sugar) levels define diabetes. A fasting blood sugar reading of 126 milligrams per deciliter (mg/dL) or higher is enough to diagnose the disease, and levels between 100 and 126 indicate pre-diabetes. But since diabetes is a leading cause of heart attack, stroke, kidney failure, visual loss, and memory loss, it's much more than a simple blood sugar problem.
To continue reading this article, you must log in.
Subscribe to Harvard Health Online for immediate access to health news and information from Harvard Medical School.
- Research health conditions
- Check your symptoms
- Prepare for a doctor's visit or test
- Find the best treatments and procedures for you
- Explore options for better nutrition and exercise
I'd like to receive access to Harvard Health Online for only $4.99 a month.Sign Me Up
Already a member? Login ».
As a service to our readers, Harvard Health Publishing provides access to our library of archived content. Please note the date of last review or update on all articles.
No content on this site, regardless of date, should ever be used as a substitute for direct medical advice from your doctor or other qualified clinician.