More women would be diagnosed with gestational diabetes with new testing criteria

A government panel is urging healthcare providers to tighten up testing criteria for gestational diabetes.

The new approach - which includes lowering the blood sugar threshold for diagnosing the disease - is a one-step method that's backed by the American Diabetes Association and the World Health Organization. In the U.S., most doctors use a two-step testing method.

More pregnant women would be classified as diabetics under new criteria

The government panel, appointed by the National Institutes of Health, decided on Wednesday that more women - about 15 to 20 percent - would be diagnosed with gestational diabetes under the new criteria.

These women would most likely be treated with diet and exercise programs, not medications. But extra doctor visits, nutritional counseling and blood sugar testing supplies could add up to millions of dollars in healthcare costs annually.

Yet the jury is out on whether using the more aggressive testing approach would provide long-term health benefits for both mother and child.

"The implications of this are very, very large, and there are so many unanswered questions," said Dr. Catherine Spong of the National Institute of Child Health and Human Development.

Why the change?

Pressure to change testing standards came after a study of 25,000 pregnant women found that health risks for both mother and child grew when the mother's blood sugar rose, even if she wasn't diabetic.

The current two-step test involves drinking a sweet liquid and then getting a blood test. Those who fail the first test get a second test. With the one-step method, all pregnant mothers would get a single two-hour test.

Source: Fox News
Image courtesy of Stuart Miles/ FreeDigitalPhotos.net

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