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Gestational diabetes

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Diabetes Mellitus is a disorder of metabolism that initially affect the ability to control blood sugars. Diabetes covers a range of blood glucose disorders of which the 4 most common are considered to be:

• Type 1 diabetes mellitus

• Type 2 diabetes mellitus

• Secondary diabetes mellitus

• Gestational diabetes mellitus

Secondary diabetes is a diagnosis of elevated blood sugar as a result of some other primary condition such as pancreatic damage, hepatic cirrhosis or an endocrine related disease that indirectly affects blood glucose levels. Therefore, the excess plasma glucose levels are the result of another problem, rather than

being the problem itself.

Gestational diabetes is diagnosed when a pregnant woman has been tested, usually between 24-28 weeks gestation, and is found to have excess blood glucose levels for the first time. The second and third trimesters of pregnancy are known to bring about a mild resistance to glucose control to allow the baby to feed more from the fuel within the blood stream. This is considered absolutely normal and in most pregnancies causes no health concerns at all.However, approximately 2-4% of pregnant women (ADA, 2009) may be diagnosed with gestational diabetes. This can create some additional challenges for the mother and for the growing foetus. When the risks are managed well by a medical professional and the mother, these complications during pregnancy can be considerably reduced. In most cases, gestational diabetes usually improves or resolves itself, within a short time period, after the delivery when the endocrine system rebalances. A further test is performed 6 weeks or more following delivery to determine how the condition has progressed. If it has improved, the mother will be reclassified as having impaired glucose tolerance or normal glucose tolerance. It is possible that the disorder may progress to the diagnosis of Type 2 diabetes after birth and a return to regular daily life. Some statistics suggest that around 20% of gestational diabetes sufferers may develop Type 2 diabetes later in life.

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