Friday, April 11, 2014

Gestational Diabetes By Douglas Penta MD

There is a distinct difference between adult onset diabetes and juvenile diabetes.
Pregnancy-related diabetes, better known as gestational diabetes, is also important to understand should this condition arise during your pregnancy. I hope this article will clear up any questions regarding the distinction between these various types of diabetes mellitus. Unlike many medical conditions that are not fully understood, diabetes is well understood and regardless of what type you are dealing with, the goal is the same: to maintain an overall normal range of blood sugar levels to prevent organ damage associated with uncontrolled diabetes, including heart disease, renal disease etc..

Juvenile diabetes is perhaps the easiest to understand as it relates to a lack of insulin production by cells in the pancreas and is thought to be a result of genetically predisposing factors and viral-mediated in certain cases.
Adult onset (AODM), is very different in terms of its cause as it is not related to a lack of insulin production, but instead, to the ability of insulin receptors to respond to the insulin. AODM is controlled well with life style changes and in many instances such changes alone can resolve the problem ( changes include weight loss and changes in diet and exercise). I have actually seen many overweight patients with AODM, lose weight such that the condition no longer required treatment with medication.
Finally, as an OB/GYN physician I must mention the diabetic condition I have dealt with most often during my career and that is gestational diabetes (diabetes relating to pregnancy). It is routinely screened for during pregnancy and is most like AODM as it is a lack of response of receptors to the insulin that is present and not a deficiency of insulin.

I have had many patients on very large doses of insulin for gestational diabetes to maintain normal ranges of blood sugar. The insulin receptors are not sensitive enough to normal levels of insulin and thus the need for additional insulin supplementation. Women with gestational diabetes are thoroughly educated about how to maintain normal blood sugar levels and it is a task that takes a great deal of education/instruction.
Gestational diabetes can be indicative of a predisposition to diabetes later in life and thus it is important to follow-up one’s blood sugar after delivery and be conscious of this possibility later in life. In the majority of cases the diabetic condition associated with pregnancy resolves immediately after delivery of the placenta.
I hope this information is helpful. It is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any condition; however, the more one understands the cause of a particular condition the more proactive one can be about the management.

No comments:

Post a Comment