New treatment for women with gestational diabetes - KAIT-Jonesboro, AR-News, weather, sports

New treatment for gestational diabetes

Dr. Karen Hirsch helped Katie manage her diabetes when she was pregnant. Now that baby Benton is here, Katie's blood sugar levels show that she is teetering dangerously close to becoming diabetic again.

"I'm 30 years old," says Katie. "I don't want to be fighting diabetes, full-blown diabetes, the rest of my life. The only way to make sure that doesn't happen is to stop it right now."

Katie has participated in research that gauges the effectiveness of diet and exercise at keeping women with pregnancy-related diabetes from getting it after the baby is born. Preliminary findings show that the approach was, at best, only marginally effective.

"That's very difficult," explains Dr. Hirsch. "You have a brand new baby at home and I'm asking you to not only change everything you eat and your whole lifestyle, I'm asking you to fit in 30 minutes of exercise a day too."

Now Katie is participating in a women's hospital study focusing on drug treatment to protect women who have had diabetes when they were pregnant.

Women in this study will be given a pill called Metformin. Some will also get an injectable diabetes drug. For women who probably would not be able to lower their post-pregnancy diabetes risk with lifestyle changes, Hirsch says medication could be the best option.

"Most people are very cautious," she says. "They don't want to become diabetic. Maybe they've got a family member who has it or they already went through it for 20 weeks of pregnancy."

This is a two-year study, but if researchers find that drug therapy works for these women before that, there is a good possibility that it could become part of standard care even sooner.

In this case, the question to be answered is, which lowers the risk of post-pregnancy diabetes the most -- one drug or two?

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