About 9.2%-10% of pregnant women suffer from gestational diabetes. This is a condition where women who have never had diabetes will have high blood sugar levels during pregnancy.
Its cause is not known, but it is suspected that the placental hormones block the mother’s insulin action causing insulin resistance. When this happens, she may need up to three times the normal amount of insulin to maintain the normal glucose level.
If not checked and managed, GD complications can affect the forming baby or the mother in late pregnancy. The babies develop a high risk of type 2 diabetes when they become adults and are susceptible to breathing problems at birth among other health issues.
When you hear people or doctors talking about blood sugar and blood glucose, do not be confused, these two terms mean the same thing.
In the US, blood sugar is measured in mg/dl meaning milligrams of glucose per one deciliter of blood. When taking a gestational diabetes test, the doctors consider the normal glucose numbers which, if surpassed means you have high GD levels and are in need of treatment.
The normal numbers vary throughout the day and must be read depending on whether you are fasting or not.
When the glucose levels become higher than normal, you will begin to experience GD complications, for example, inflammation of your blood vessels and nerves. On the other hand, low blood glucose levels can also cause health problems, including confusion, dizziness or fainting if not checked.
It Is Crucial For Women At Risk of Or With Pre-Existing Diabetes To Be Tested At Their First Antenatal Visit.
Anyone with a body mass index of 25kg /m2 or higher and presents an additional risk factor, including a close relative with diabetes, physical inactivity, previous gestational diabetes, and hypertension should be tested.
For those not at a high risk of developing gestational diabetes, doctors usually test the blood glucose levels around 24-48 weeks which is in the second trimester.
Doctors use an oral glucose tolerance test to diagnose GD. Patients are advised to fast for about 8 hours before the test, the best time for this is in the morning before you eat anything.
Most doctors employ a two-step approach to testing for gestational diabetes. The patient is first given an oral 50g glucose non-fasting test at 24 – 48 weeks of gestation. This is followed by a 100g fasting glucose test for those who have a positive test in the first stage test.
Some doctors do use a one-step testing approach.The doctor will test your fasting blood sugar level then administer an oral sugar mixture of 75g glucose every hour for two hours and have the blood glucose measurements taken. If at any one time during the test your blood glucose levels are found to be elevated, you will be diagnosed to have gestational diabetes.
Getting tested for Preeclampsia is complimentary with gestational diabetes. Preeclampsia can be an effect of gestational diabetes due to the higher levels of blood pressure.
When the blood test reveals an increased uric acid level, the woman will most likely have preeclampsia. This is among the earliest lab test to find out if the patient is suffering from the condition. This acid is normally filtered through the kidney and should be low in the blood. An elevation in its blood level indicated kidney damage by preeclampsia.
If a test indicates a high hematocrit level, this can be a sign of preeclampsia. This test tells the percentage of red blood cells. A normal hematocrit level in a nonpregnant woman should be between 36 and 44 percent. This normally decreases during pregnancy due to an increase in the blood plasma fluids. In preeclampsia, there is an abnormally high level of red blood cells since it causes cells absorb plasma.
A test to measure the number of blood platelets can show if one suffers from preeclampsia. A positive result is indicated by an abnormally high platelet level.
This is the time the blood takes to clot. An increase in this time may be an indicator of preeclampsia.
Preeclampsia can cause kidney damage resulting in a change in the number of electrolytes like calcium, magnesium, potassium, sodium, and chloride. Preeclampsia can also cause fluids to leak into the surrounding tissue resulting in a high concentration of the electrolytes.
The doctor may go straight to testing for kidney function to check the levels of various substances in the blood. If those substances that are normally removed by the kidney are present in elevated amounts then the kidneys are damaged possibly by preeclampsia. They include blood urea and creatinine among others.
Pregnancy women should take gestational diabetes test as recommended to catch this condition early enough before it causes any damage or complications. Regular blood glucose monitoring is crucial for a healthy body during pregnancy and for non pregnant people.
Let’s take a look at the different treatments available>>>