June 01, 1999
Meetings & Conventions: Short Cuts June 1999 Current Issue
June 1999
AppleShort Cuts:

HOW SICK ARE YOU? If you got a clean bill of health at your last checkup, enjoy it while it lasts. A handful of medical organizations want to change the clinical definitions of diabetes, high blood pressure, high cholesterol and excessive weight.

Theoretically, the proposed changes would help with early detection and treatment. But if they take effect, about 75 percent of the U.S. adult population would be considered diseased, up from the current 58 percent, point out researchers from Dartmouth Medical School in Hanover, N.H. The number of Americans with diabetes would increase by 1.7 million (14 percent); high blood pressure, 13.5 million (35 percent); high cholesterol, 42.6 million (86 percent); and excessive weight, 29.5 million (42 percent).

Another concern: The new definitions might lead to unnecessary anxiety and even unnecessary treatment, the Dartmouth researchers speculate in a report published in the journal Effective Clinical Practice.

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