PHARMACY

Study: Metabolic screenings may predict gestational diabetes

BY Allison Cerra

OAKLAND, Calif. Metabolic screenings may be beneficial to women prior to conceiving a child, as cardiometabolic risk factors that predict gestational diabetes are present before pregnancy, according to a new Kaiser Permanente study.

The study, published in the American Journal of Epidemiology, suggested that metabolic screenings could help identify those more likely to develop gestational diabetes mellitus, which typically occurs in the second or third trimester of pregnancy.

The researchers studied 1,164 women without diabetes before pregnancy who delivered 1,809 live births during the course of five consecutive exams from 1985 to 2006 as part of a "Coronary Artery Risk Development in Young Adults" study. Participant characteristics –– including  lifestyle, sociodemographic, medical conditions, medication use, family history of diabetes, pregnancies and births, and GDM status, as well as clinical assessments, body measurements and blood specimens –– were  obtained at baseline. Follow-up exams used standardized research methodologies, including self- and interviewer-administered questionnaires.

The researchers found that such cardiometabolic factors as impaired fasting glucose, elevated fasting insulin and low HDL-cholesterol before pregnancy were associated with higher risk of GDM. Of the 1,809 live births studied, 154 (8.5%) involved a GDM pregnancy. Among overweight women, 26.7% with one or more cardiometabolic risk factors before pregnancy developed gestational diabetes versus 7.4% who did not have cardiometabolic risk factors.

"Our study suggests that women may benefit from a focus on care before conception that would encourage screening for metabolic abnormalities before pregnancy, rather than only during pregnancy. Because weight loss is not advised, and the medication and behavioral treatment options are more limited during pregnancy, the time to prevent gestational diabetes is before pregnancy begins," said study lead investigator Erica Gunderson, an epidemiologist and research scientist at the Kaiser Permanente Division of Research in Oakland, Calif. "Screening and treatment of metabolic risk factors before pregnancy to prevent GDM may help reduce its lasting adverse health effects on children by possibly improving the uterine environment," she added.

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Obesity costs U.S. employers billions, study finds

BY Allison Cerra

NEW YORK New research by Duke University found that obese workers cost U.S. employers $73.1 billion a year.

 

The researchers, led by Eric Finkelstein, deputy director for health services and systems research at Duke-National University of Singapore, used survey data from the 2006 Medical Expenditure Panel Survey and the 2008 U.S. National Health and Wellness Survey to determine the extent to which obesity-related health problems affected absenteeism, work productivity and medical costs. Among those with a body mass index higher than 40, or roughly 100 lbs. overweight, these costs worked out to $16,900 per capita for women and $15,500 for men.

 

 

"Much work has already shown the high costs of obesity in medical expenditures and absenteeism, but our findings are the first to measure the incremental costs of presenteeism for obese individuals separately by body mass index and gender among full-time employees," Finkelstein said.

 

The study was published on Oct. 8 in the Journal of Occupational and Environmental Medicine.

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Jewel-Osco enters flu prevention game

BY Allison Cerra

ITASCA, Ill. Supervalu’s Jewel-Osco stores announced a flu prevention program with vaccinations available in all locations with a pharmacy.

Jewel-Osco said its pharmacists will offer the traditional flu vaccine, the needle-free FluMist nasal spray and the new high-dose Fluzone for patients older than 65 years, during regular pharmacy hours.

The flu vaccine is available for $26.99 for either the traditional injection or FluMist. Fluzone HD is available for $59.99. The cost of these vaccines is covered by Medicare Part B and many commercial health plans, which means that many customers may not be incurring additional costs.

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