Diabetes is a major problem. If you don't think so, consider the latest statistic from the federal government. One in 16 U.S. women who give birth -- more than 250,000 each year -- has diabetes.
Diabetes used to be thought of as a disease of older age. Not anymore. The obesity epidemic has led to more cases of diabetes among children, adolescents and young adults. The new analysis, from the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality, analyzed data from 2008. Diabetes was defined as either pre-existing disease or gestational diabetes. Either way, the disease can harm the mother and baby, increasing the risk of miscarriage and preterm birth and low blood-sugar and jaundice in the infant. Moreover, babies born to mothers with diabetes appear to have an increased risk of developing the disease later in life.
Cost is an issue, too. The hospital costs associated with childbirth for women with pre-existing diabetes were 55% higher than for a healthy birth, and the costs for women with gestational diabetes were 18% higher. The total cost of care for pregnant women with diabetes accounted for 8.5% of all maternal hospitalization costs.
The figures were published Wednesday in the AHRQ's publication News and Numbers.
Related: New gestational diabetes guidelines could find more women at risk
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