Monday, October 22, 2007

New concern about diabetes: rising rates of gestational diabetes

We’ve all heard about the rising rates of type 2 diabetes, what used to be called adult-onset diabetes. We’ve also heard about how teens and children are developing this disease that used to only affect adults. But now we’re hearing more about gestational diabetes, diabetes that occurs during pregnancy (Instances of diabetes during pregnancy on the rise).

Luckily, in most cases, gestational diabetes goes away after the baby is delivered, but there are risks to both the baby and the mother during the pregnancy and, it’s believed, after.

The American Diabetes Association reports that 4% of pregnant women in the US develop gestational diabetes. Four percent may not sound like a lot, but that is about 135,000 women.

The most common result of gestational diabetes is a large baby. While this may not seem to be an issue at first glance, the larger the baby, the more difficult it is to deliver naturally and the baby is at higher risk of birth injuries. As well, researchers are finding that there may be long-term effects, such as obesity and type 2 diabetes in adulthood.

Most pregnant women undergo blood glucose (sugar) testing during the 24th to 28th week of pregnancy to catch diabetes before it is out of control. (Info from MedLinePlus.) However, it is good to know the symptoms. They are the symptoms of type 1, type 2, or gestational diabetes:

- Feeling very thirsty all the time or much more frequently than ever before
- Urinating frequently
- Feeling very fatigued despite resting
- Nausea and vomiting
- Losing weight despite eating normally
- Infections
- Blurry vision

Unless there is a reason to start aggressively right away, most women with gestational diabetes begin treatment through lifestyle changes. This means changing the diet, preferably under a dietician’s supervision. The mother’s will still include foods that provide nutrients to her and the baby, but restrict the amount of sugar that her body needs to process. Lifestyle changes also include exercising as much as possible. However, it is important that the exercise program be checked and approved by the doctor first.

Women with gestational diabetes are usually taught how to monitor their blood sugar and have to be tested regularly and monitored closely. If the lifestyle changes don’t work, then insulin will be needed. Once the baby is born, however, the body usually goes back to its pre-pregnancy state and usually the diabetes disappears. Although this is usually the case, it is important that women always tell their physicians, no matter at what age, that they had gestational diabetes as they could be at an increased risk of developing type 2 diabetes later on.

Today's News:

Increased sun exposure halves risk of advanced breast cancer: study
Instances of diabetes during pregnancy on the rise
Scientists find predisposition to bronchiolitis in some babies
Watching Funny Shows Helps Children Tolerate Pain For Longer Periods
Penn researchers find emotional well-being has no influence on cancer survival
New heart surgery helps frail patients
Millions Of People With Wet AMD Face Blindness, Social Isolation And Psychological Ill Health


Mary said...


I have type 2 diabetes and it is a big adjustment to learn to live with it. I was diagnosed in 1992 and for 10 years I was able to control it by diet. After that, I went on medications. The best I found was Metphormin, but it didn't agree with me. I had terrible side effects and had to stop taking it. Then my meds were constantly changed because nothing seemed to work. Now I'm on Avandia, which is known to cause heart disease, stroke and who knows what else. I believe it's been banned in the US. It scares me to take it, but my glucose levels are rarely more than 8, which is the way they are read in Canada. Anything over 7 is classed as diabetes. For years mine were 12 to 16. Way too high.

Type 2 diabetes is prevelant on both sides of my family. I was in my 40s when it was diagnosed. My build is much like my maternal grandmother's. Now we are keeping a close eye on my daughter and oldest grandson.

October is diabetes month in Ontario and I will be writing a little something on it later this month. Thanks for the great post.

BTW, I changed the colors on my "Treasure to Me" blog so you can read it.


Have a magic Monday.

Marijke Vroomen-Durning said...

Hi Mary. I've heard about people having problems with side effects from diabetes meds but I didn't realize how serious it could be for some. Good luck with managing your disease and your family.
(and thanks about your site!)