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Gestational Diabetes: Be Aware of Risks for Mother and Baby

Gestational Diabetes: Be Aware of Risks for Mother and Baby

Photo: Pregnant woman with child on a meadow 

Two to three times more pregnant women may soon be diagnosed and treated for gestational diabetes, based on new measurements for determining risky blood sugar levels for the mother and her unborn baby.

"As result of this study, more than 16 percent of the entire population of pregnant women qualified as having gestational diabetes," said lead author Boyd Metzger, the Tom D. Spies Professor of Metabolism and Nutrition at Feinberg and a physician at Northwestern Memorial Hospital. "Before, between five to eight percent of pregnant women were diagnosed with this."

Blood sugar levels that were once considered in the normal range are now seen as causing a sharp increase in the occurrence of overweight babies with high insulin levels, early deliveries, cesarean section deliveries and potentially life-threatening preeclampsia, a condition in which the mother has high blood pressure that affects her and the baby.

Previous guidelines to diagnose gestational diabetes were based on blood sugar levels that identified women at high risk for developing diabetes in the future. The guidelines weren't related to risks to the baby or other risks to the mother.

Based on a study of more than 23,000 women in nine countries, Metzger and an international group of 50 experts concluded a fasting blood sugar level of 92 or higher, a one-hour level of 180 or higher on a glucose tolerance test or a two-hour level of 153 or higher on a glucose tolerance test constitute serious risks to the mother and baby. Previously, these levels had been considered in the safe, normal range, and two elevated levels were required for a diagnosis of gestational diabetes.

"This study says these risks to pregnancy are like many things we deal with in medicine," Metzger said. "The risk of having a stroke doesn't begin when your blood pressure is 140 over 80. That's when we say you have hypertension, but that's not where the risk begins to affect your health. That starts sooner. A similar situation is how your cholesterol level relates to the risk of having heart disease. It doesn't begin at 200. That's where it reaches the threshold where common treatments can reduce the risks."

"Our research represents an examination of risks and a consensus about how high a level the risk needs to reach before a diagnosis should be made and treatment should be considered," Metzger said.

REHACARE.de; Source: Northwestern University

- More about the Northwestern University at www.northwestern.edu

 
 

( Source: REHACARE.de )

 
 

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