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April 21, 2002

Diagnosis and Symptoms

Question from Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, USA:

I am a 24 year old who had glucose intolerance when I was pregnant with my first child, and now I am scared to death that I still have glucose intolerance and worry about developing diabetes. I was extremely anxious before my test and had eaten a bagel before the test. I was absolutely shocked to hear that I had this since I am a very slender individual with no family history of diabetes. Could there have been a mistake? Is this something that I will have in future pregnancies? Please help me ease my fears. I am driving my husband crazy, and really need peace of mind for myself. What is the recommended range of blood sugar levels?

Answer:

Since you had gestational diabetes with your last pregnancy, you are at risk of developing diabetes later in life. It is also possible that you may develop this with future pregnancies. It is worthwhile to have your doctor re-screen you now.

Your fasting blood sugar should be less than 126 mg/dl [7 mmol/L], and two hours after a meal should be less than 140 mg/dl [7.8 mmol/L].

OWJ

[Editor’s comment: It’s unclear what the rationale was for diagnosing you as having had glucose intolerance during your prior pregnancy — I hope that it wasn’t simply based on a single non-fasting blood sugar (eating a bagel before the test means that particular test was not fasting, and the result of the blood sugar would be higher. How much higher is unclear to me — I never did a “BTT” — although I suspect somebody has!)

WWQ]