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'Healthy' Pre-Diabetics Still Face Heart Disease Threat

Experts urge preventive steps for those at risk of developing high blood pressure, diabetes

MONDAY, May 3 (HealthDay News) -- People who are at high risk of developing diabetes and high blood pressure but don't have symptoms yet may still be at higher risk for heart disease, a new study reports.

"Diabetes and hypertension have reached epidemic status, not only in the U.S., but across the globe," Dr. Henry R. Black, president of the American Society of Hypertension, said in a society news release. "We are encouraged by research that sheds light on early indicators of cardiovascular disease, which may lead to better methods of predicting, and ultimately preventing, these devastating illnesses."

In one study, researchers analyzed data on disease-free people who were examined between 1999 and 2006, and were found to be either prehypertensive -- at high risk of developing high blood pressure -- or prediabetic.

One in three seemingly healthy adults were deemed to be prehypertensive and one in four were deemed to be prediabetic. One in 10 fit in both categories; they tended to be overweight and were thought to be at especially high risk of heart disease or stroke, the study authors noted.

"We would like to propose that prehypertension (blood pressure above 120/80 mm Hg) and prediabetes (blood sugar of more than 100 mg/dL) occurring together should be a red flag for urgent further evaluation," said study lead author Dr. Alok K. Gupta, assistant professor with the Louisiana State University System in Baton Rouge, in the news release.

The study findings are scheduled to be presented Monday at the American Society of Hypertension's Annual Scientific Meeting and Exposition, held in New York City.

More information

The National Diabetes Information Clearinghouse has information on prediabetes.

-- Randy Dotinga

SOURCE: American Society of Hypertension, news release, May 3, 2010

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