Health insurance companies should reimburse costs for blood glucose meters

Health insurance companies should reimburse costs for blood glucose meters

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Reimbursement for blood glucose meters for pregnant women requested

Gestational diabetes is one of the most common complications of pregnancy. The disease can have an adverse effect on the later life of mother and child. Regular monitoring of maternal blood sugar levels is essential for therapy. However, patients still cannot get their blood glucose meters reimbursed from their health insurance funds. That should change, health experts demand.

Health risk for child and mother

Diabetes is one of the most common comorbidities in pregnancy. If not treated or insufficiently treated, gestational diabetes (GDM) poses an increased health risk for both the expectant mother and the unborn child. However, the blood glucose meters are still not reimbursed by their health insurers. Health experts are therefore once again calling for the costs to be covered.

Regular checking of blood sugar levels

Every year over 40,000 pregnant women develop diabetes mellitus.

With gestational diabetes, the mother's blood sugar is either increased continuously or only unusually long after meals. The high amount of sugar is transferred directly to the baby, who is overnourished.

It often grows too quickly and its metabolism adjusts to the constant supply of carbohydrates even before birth.

This can affect the development of the child's heart and lungs, among other things.

Gestational diabetes is also a risk for the mother.

Cash registers should make blood glucose meters subject to reimbursement

"Patients with gestational diabetes are a very sensitive clientele," explains the President of the German Diabetes Society (DDG), Professor Dr. med. Dirk Müller-Wieland, in a message.

"It is not only the health of the unborn child that is crucially dependent on the mother's optimal blood sugar setting," says the expert.

"Possible severe pregnancy and birth complications, as well as later type 2 diabetes in the mother, can develop from poor blood sugar control."

The DDG therefore once again calls on the GKV umbrella association to make blood glucose meters for patients with GDM subject to reimbursement, so that everyone affected can regularly monitor their blood sugar metabolism without sharing their own costs.

This is also the guideline for GDM, which the DDG updated together with the German Society for Gynecology and Obstetrics (DGGG) this year.

Normalize your metabolism with a lifestyle change

Last year, the DDG suggested that blood glucose meters for pregnant women with GDM be included in the aid catalog (product group 21) of the GKV umbrella association - regardless of whether the GDM is treated with insulin or not.

"Neither from a medical nor from a health economic point of view is it understandable that blood glucose meters are still not reimbursed at GDM," emphasizes Müller-Wieland. "We see a clear risk potential for affected mothers and their children."

The treatment in line with the guidelines initially provides for normalizing the metabolism with a lifestyle change.

"In order to adjust meals and physical activity according to metabolic needs, the expectant mother should regularly check her blood sugar levels with a blood glucose meter," emphasizes Professor Dr. Baptist Gallwitz, media spokesman for the DDG.

"This is the basic prerequisite for recognizing deterioration in values ​​and any insulin therapy that may be necessary in good time." Incidentally, this is an internationally established standard.

In some cases, pregnant women have to inject insulin

Insulin therapy during pregnancy can be avoided in around 80 percent of cases with good metabolic self-control and an improved lifestyle with a healthy diet and sufficient exercise.

"It is therefore simply negligent for the GKV top association to deny this patient group the basic prerequisites for a healthy and complication-free pregnancy," criticizes Gallwitz.

Only when lifestyle measures are no longer sufficient to prevent high blood sugar levels do pregnant women have to inject insulin.

The indication for insulin, however, results from the self-measured and logged values ​​of the pregnant women. Necessary insulin treatments can be overlooked without self-measurements.

Increased risk of type 2 diabetes and obesity

Patients with gestational diabetes and their unborn children face enormous health risks during and after pregnancy.

For example, women with GDM have an increased risk of high blood pressure, edema, kidney disease, depression during and after pregnancy, cardiovascular disease and chronic urinary tract infections.

Finally, the risk of re-gestational diabetes in subsequent pregnancies and of type 2 diabetes increases within the next ten years.

The child has the following health risks: premature birth with transfer to the children's clinic, a greatly increased birth weight, which often results in a caesarean section or birth injuries to the mother and child during vaginal birth, and finally an increased risk of type 2 diabetes and being overweight .

"Serious complications and possible consequential damage to the mother and her child put a lot more strain on the health system than if the measuring device is reimbursed with the appropriate test strips," adds Müller-Wieland.

The number of women with gestational diabetes has risen sharply

In the past 15 years, the number of women with gestational diabetes has risen sharply in Germany - from just under 1.5 to about 5.4 percent of all pregnancies.

This is shown by studies taken up by the updated DDG guideline on GDM.

"The reason for these increased numbers is on the one hand the improved diagnostics," explains Müller-Wieland the development. "On the other hand, however, the number of risk patients is also increasing significantly: old age and obesity favor increased blood sugar levels of the expectant mother."

Other risk factors include familial diabetes and an earlier pregnancy with GDM. Recent studies also show that vitamin D deficiency and sleep apnea in pregnant women can also increase the risk and gestational diabetes is more common in women who are expecting a male child.

Patients with gestational diabetes can obtain extensive information about diagnosis and therapy with the help of the updated GDM patient guideline. (ad)

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