Gestational diabetes is a type of high blood sugar condition commonly affecting pregnant women. It is also called Gestational Diabetes Mellitus (GDM).
Who is at a higher risk?
Ethnicity, family history, maternal and parental age, syndromes, previous glucose intolerance diagnosis, and obesity are the factors that cause gestational diabetes. Women between the age group of 25 to 35 having high blood pressure are at a higher risk of gestational diabetes. Gaining more weight than usual during pregnancy can be a factor leading to gestational diabetes. Women suffering from polycystic ovary syndrome or conditions similar to it which lead to insulin resistance are likely to develop gestational diabetes. A family history of diabetes can be a possible genetic factor facilitating the development of the disease. Generally, it is common in Native Americans, East Asians, Pacific Islanders, and Africans. Women expecting multiple babies or giving birth to a child weighing more than 9 pounds are likely to develop gestational diabetes mellitus.
How does the condition develop?
In the human body, carbohydrates from food sources are metabolized to glucose that travels through the body by blood. The pancreas is responsible for the release of insulin hormone that controls the levels of glucose in the human body. During pregnancy, there is an overall increase in hormones such as human placental lactogen (HPLC). Along with estrogen, progesterone, cortisol, and human placental growth hormone that resist the production of insulin. That is why pregnant women are resistant to insulin causing an overall increase in glucose levels. It leads to the development of pre-eclampsia that increases the blood pressure in the pregnant mother and the amount of protein in the urine. Gestational diabetes can increase the chances of surgical operation to remove the baby. Along with placental hormones, tumor necrosis factor-alpha is also responsible for insulin resistance in pregnant mothers.
Common symptoms of Gestational Diabetes
Symptoms of gestational diabetes include unexplained fatigue, excessive urination, impairment in vision, immoderate hunger, and thirst. The disease has two types, class A1 gestational diabetes and class A2 gestational diabetes. Class A1 gestational diabetes are easy to control by proper diet plans, whereas class A2 requires medications for controlling the condition.
How to prevent gestational diabetes?
It can be managed by monitoring the uptake of food sources. A diet rich in carbohydrates, proteins, and fats can prevent gestational diabetes. Food items rich in carbohydrates such as whole grains, milk, beans, starchy vegetables, peas, leguminous crops, low-sugar fruits, and brown rice should be included in the diet plan to reduce gestational diabetes. Protein sources such as poultry, tofu, milk, cheese, and eggs are crucial for pregnant women who have gestational diabetes. Sources of fat like nuts, almonds, peanuts, olive oil, and avocados must be consumed in ample amounts.
Women suffering from gestational diabetes should avoid sweetened beverages, alcoholic beverages, sweetened oatmeal, fried foods, and baked items containing excess sugar. Regular exercise and a properly balanced diet can reduce the chances of gestational diabetes. Exercise, yoga, running, pilates, and walking are effective to treat the disease. Insulin injections are in administration during chronic conditions to pregnant women. Taking vitamin D supplements facilitates its prevention.
Diagnosis of Gestational Diabetes Mellitus
The American Diabetes Association advises routine checkups of pregnant women during 24 to 28 weeks to detect gestational diabetes. Blood tests and urine tests are useful to detect the levels of blood sugar in the body. Urine tests detect the presence of glucosuria. In a one-step test, a woman is given a carbohydrate-rich solution to test fasting blood sugar levels at regular intervals of one hour. If the fasting blood sugar is greater than 92 milligrams per deciliter, the patient is likely to have gestational diabetes. In a two-step test, fasting is not necessary. If the blood report shows blood sugar more than 130 milligrams per deciliter, the patient has GDM.
Prognosis of gestational diabetes
The disease can cause severe complications like macrosomia in the child. Along with premature death of the baby, hypoglycemia in the baby, and deficiency of minerals in the newborn child. Mothers delivering children after gestational diabetes are at a greater risk of acquiring diabetes mellitus. The child born to affect mothers may have jaundice, obesity, and type 2 diabetes.
Gestational diabetes is a type of high blood sugar condition commonly affecting pregnant women. The disease is of two categories, class A1 and class A2 gestational diabetes. Type A1 gestational diabetes includes abnormal oral glucose tolerance levels. While type A2 includes abnormal oral glucose tolerance tests and glucose levels. Ethnicity, family history, maternal and parental age, syndromes, and obesity are a few factors that potentially cause the onset of gestational diabetes. The disease is easier to control by following a diet rich in carbohydrates, proteins, and triglycerides. Rather than oral medications and insulin. It is good to avoid sweetened beverages, alcoholic beverages, and sweetened baked items if suffering from gestational diabetes.
The National Diabetes Statistics Report, 2020 by the CDC shows that 1 in 10 Americans have diabetes and that 1 in 3 American adults have prediabetes. On top of that, newly diagnosed cases of type 1 and type 2 diabetes have significantly increased among US youth. The numbers show that diabetes is quite prevalent in our country, and does that mean you should be scared?
Read on to learn what diabetes is, how it can affect you, and ways you can control it.
What is Diabetes?
Diabetes is a condition that impairs your body’s ability to process blood glucose, known also as blood sugar.
Blood glucose is the main source of energy for the body and it comes from the food you eat. A hormone called Insulin, which made by the pancreas helps glucose from food get into your cells to be used for energy. When the pancreas does not produce enough insulin or when the body cannot effectively use the insulin it produces, the glucose cannot reach your cells and stays in your blood.
Without appropriate care and management, diabetes can lead to a buildup of sugars in the blood, which can increase the risk of health complications like stroke and heart disease.
Types of Diabetes
Type I: Type I diabetes occurs when the body fails to produce insulin. People with type I diabetes need to take artificial insulin to stay alive. We also call it juvenile diabetes, as it can start from childhood.
Type II: Type II diabetes affects the way the body uses insulin. While the body still makes insulin, the cells in the body do not respond to it as effectively, causing sugar to buildup in your blood. This is the most common type of diabetes. Obesity and lifestyle-related problems link with it.
Gestational diabetes: This occurs in women during pregnancy. Placenta-t which causes high blood sugar produces insulin-blocking hormones. Gestational diabetes is not common in women and usually resolves after giving birth.
There is also this sub-type called prediabetes which is when your blood sugar is higher than normal, but not high enough for the diagnosis of type II diabetes.
How can you control diabetes?
Even though diabetes has no cure, you can take adopt these lifestyle changes and healthier habits to control your diabetes.
Maintain a Healthy Body Weight
Maintaining a healthy body weight is important. This is because being overweight or obese is closely associated with the onset of type 2 diabetes. Your body can develop insulin resistance and It can lead to excessively high blood sugar, prompting diabetes if you are overweight.
Cut Down on your Sugar and Carbs Intake
Your body rapidly breaks sugary foods and refined carbs down into small sugar molecules, which are absorbed by your blood. Your blood sugar level rises which stimulates your pancreas to produce insulin. In people with diabetes, the body’s cells are resistant to insulin so the blood sugar remains high. To compensate the pancreas produces even more insulin. Over time, this can lead to higher blood sugar and increased insulin levels.
Diabetes raises the risk of cardiovascular conditions like heart disease and stroke. Smoking adds fuel to this as it constricts the blood vessels. It can also impair blood vessels in the legs, raising the risk of diabetes complications such as leg infections and amputation.
Stress increases blood sugar levels, especially in diabetes patients. This is because, during times of stress, the body releases certain hormones which increase the blood sugar levels are increased in the bloodstream.
Studies have proven that reducing stress levels is one way to control diabetes effectively.
Regular physical activity boosts high-density lipoprotein and decreases triglycerides. An active lifestyle can help you prevent or manage a wide range of health problems and conditions, including stroke, metabolic syndrome, obesity, diabetes, and other cardiovascular diseases.
Aim for at least 30 minutes of exercise or physical activity 5 days a week.
Avoid Eating Processed food
Processed foods have high amounts of preservatives and sodium. This can increase blood pressure and cause complications like heart disease, obesity, and diabetes.
We should avoid or minimize the consumption of processed foods to prevent the risks of diabetes.
Drinking water regularly and staying hydrated helps rehydrate the blood and lowers blood sugar levels, which reduces the risk of diabetes. Drinking adequate water also helps your kidneys flush out the excess sugar through urine.
Remember that water and other non-caloric beverages are best. Sweetened drinks are high in sugars which can drive up blood glucose and increase diabetes risk
Controlling diabetes requires an ongoing commitment to living a healthy lifestyle and eating right. Have a fixed routine for the day so that it makes it easier to adopt it. Consistency is the key to many things and is true for controlling diabetes too.
There are many steps you can take to control your diabetes, but the first and foremost step should always be getting tested and diagnosed by a medical professional. Get your testing kits with at 24 7 Labs today!