Letters to the Editor

Is it necessary to rename gestational diabetes mellitus? Sir, Medical terminology is a science of word building and term comprehension that depicts facts related to medicine in health and disease.[1] Scientific facts do not get camouflaged under a value system. Rather science is value free. Impartiality, neutrality and autonomy are the key factors of science and scientific research. The pursuit of scientific truth by experimental research needs to be impartial, neutral and free from religious, political or social constraints.[2] The term diabetes is such a word that is coined to describe the human condition with a defect in insulin action leading to glucose intolerance. The word was carefully chosen to describe as well as dictate the potential risks associated with the condition. This is a terminology for medical fraternity to identify, diagnose and treat the condition. This is done with the sole purpose of preventing and protecting the patient’s health. It is not coined with a view to threaten but caution the patient to be careful about the need to be aware of the consequences of the disease if left alone untreated or to educate the patient that take care of your glucose level. It is simple and succinct.[3] Gestational diabetes is one such term to indicate pregnancy associated glucose intolerance that needs to be treated to protect the well being of the mother and unborn child.[4] A term like Gestational dysglycemia of nutritional origin (GDNO) may help to protect the social dimension of the patient like minimizing stress as well as social stigma[5] It may mislead the patient to think that by controlling diet GDM can be treated quite contrary to the fact that insulin therapy is the treatment of choice for the condition. It is a question of a basic understanding that gestational diabetes mellitus (GDM) is pregnancy related glucose intolerance that can be treated and controlled. The responsibility lies with the physician to counsel the couple regarding the condition reassuring the husband that GDM is pregnancy related and


it does not indicate any social and economic burden on the couple. It is a tradition that the daughter’s first pregnancy will be taken care by the parents with a view to provide mother’s protection and father’s purse for the treatment. GDM is therefore another condition that creates an opportunity for husband’s family to possibly exploit further the vulnerable position of the woman in society. This cultural and social necessity always puts the woman at risk along with her parents. Rather gender discrimination has grave consequences including female infanticide. It is unfortunate that a husband who takes the oath to protect his wife in health and disease becomes a stooge to such social custom risking his wife’s health. Therefore renaming GDM will not in any way help the woman in question. The only solution to such social maladies is to educate women, give legal protection and safeguard the welfare of the women in such communities by social awareness. Dhastagir S. Sheriff Department of Biochemistry, Faculty of Medicine, Benghazi University, Benghazi, Libya Corresponding Author: Prof. Dhastagir S. Sheriff, Department of Biochemistry, Faculty of Medicine, Benghazi University, Benghazi, Libya. E-mail: drdsheriff@gmail.com

REFERENCES 1. 2. 3. 4.


Hutton AR. An introduction to medical terminology for health care. 4th ed. London: Churchill Livingstone Elsevier Ltd; 2006. Lacey H. Values and the conduct of science: Principles. Principia 1999;3:57-85. American Diabetes Association. Standards of medical care in diabetes--2013. Diabetes Care 2013;36:s11-66. Kalra B, Gupta Y, Baruah MP. Renaming gestational diabetes mellitus: A psychosocial argument. Indian J Endocrinol Metab 2013;17:S3593. Kim C, McEwen LN, Kerr EA, Piette JD, Chames MC, Ferrara A, et al. Preventive counseling among women with histories of gestational diabetes. Diabetes Care 2007;10:2489-95.

Access this article online Quick Response Code: Website: www.ijem.in DOI: 10.4103/2230-8210.131224

Indian Journal of Endocrinology and Metabolism / May-Jun 2014 / Vol 18 | Issue 3

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Is it necessary to rename gestational diabetes mellitus?

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