Study Tracks Long-Term Effects of Gestational Diabetes
Doctors have recently become aware of the dangers associated with gestational diabetes, a form of the disease that occurs in pregnant women. If treated properly, it is generally accepted that women who develop gestational diabetes are less likely to experience type 2 diabetes later on in life. In some cases, the pregnancy-related disease can be treated with modifications to diet and exercise; in some circumstances, however, those with the disease must take insulin medicines, using insulin pen needles or the classic 1cc insulin syringe to overcome their body’s insulin resistance, as the medicines for type 2 diabetes, which is more similar in symptoms, are not approved for pregnancy. In all cases, those with gestational diabetes must monitor their blood glucose levels like in any form of diabetes, using Truetest test strips or Accuchek lancets, or Contour strips as they prefer.
The study that first brought the dangers and risks to light is entering a new phase. The original study, called the Hyperglycemia and Adverse Pregnancy Outcomes Study, was conducted in 15 centers in nine different countries between 2000 and 2006. The study included more than 25,000 women who were given an oral glucose-tolerance test at 24 to 32 weeks of gestation. The findings indicated that the higher a woman’s glucose levels during pregnancy, the higher the risk of obesity and problematic insulin levels of the child at birth. Additionally, women with higher blood glucose were more at risk of preeclampsia, pre-term delivery, and the need for C-section delivery. Although the treatment of gestational diabetes can be stressful—including the need for constant monitoring of glucose levels via products such as Accuchek lancets, Truetest test strips or Contour test strips, and in some cases insulin medicines administered by a 1cc insulin syringe, or an insulin pen needle, the risks of leaving the condition untreated are enormous.
The new phase of the study aims to look at the long-range effects of high blood glucose levels not just on the mothers but also on the children. For more than a year, researchers have attempted to gather health data on the women from the study and their children, some of whom are now 12 years old. The study would be one of very few to really examine the long-term effects of the condition on mother and child—looking to the risk of diabetes and obesity development in the children, and the potential risk for women to develop type 2 diabetes as a result of their experience with gestational diabetes. While most patients with type two diabetes do not have to purchase insulin pen needles or 1cc insulin syringes, since the medication for that condition works in a different way, like all diabetics they do have to monitor their blood glucose levels using Truetest test strips, Contour test strips, and products such as Accuchek lancets. The researchers participating in the original study are still tracking down the participants, interested in understanding the long-term aftereffects just as thoroughly as the short-term effects; it is proving difficult for them, as the international aspect of the study means that many of the women who participated are no longer easy to get into contact with—particularly in parts of the world such as Bangkok and Hong Kong, where political turmoil and outbreaks of infectious disease have stalled progress. But the efforts continue, and several of the women have been contacted and included in the new part of the study.