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Gestational Diabetes (GD)

Gestational diabetes (GD)

Gestational diabetes (GD)

What is gestational diabetes?
Gestational diabetes (GD) happens when you have too much sugar (glucose) in your blood during pregnancy.
Your blood sugar levels can go up when your body isn’t producing enough of a hormone called insulin. Insulin helps:
the cells in your body to get energy from blood sugar
your body to store any blood sugar that isn’t needed
During pregnancy, hormones make it harder for your body to use insulin efficiently. So your body has to make extra insulin, especially from mid-pregnancy onwards.
If your body can't make enough extra insulin, your blood sugar levels will rise and you may develop GD.
Having too much sugar in your blood can cause problems for you and your baby, so you’ll have extra care during your pregnancy. On average, GD affects one mum-to-be in 20.
GD goes away after your baby is born, because it's a condition that's only caused by pregnancy.
The other types of diabetes, which are not caused by pregnancy, are type 1 diabetes and type 2 diabetes.
Some women have diabetes, without realising it, before they become pregnant. If this happens to you, it will be diagnosed as GD during your pregnancy.
What are the symptoms of gestational diabetes?
You probably won't notice any symptoms if you have GD. That's why you'll be monitored by your midwife, and offered a test if she thinks you're at risk. GD symptoms are like normal pregnancy symptoms, and easy to miss.
By the time you have clear symptoms, your blood sugar levels may be worryingly high (hyperglycaemia) . Symptoms of hyperglycaemia include:
feeling more thirsty
needing to wee more o Continue reading

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Blood Sugar Monitoring

Blood Sugar Monitoring

What Do the Numbers Tell You?
“I must admit that I stopped checking my blood sugar,” Dave said. “I used to stick myself and write the numbers in a book, but I had no idea what they meant. I’d eat the same thing and get different numbers. Finally, I just gave up.”
Sound familiar? Many people dutifully check their blood glucose levels but have no idea what the numbers mean. Part of the problem is that blood glucose levels constantly fluctuate and are influenced by many factors. The other part of the problem is that no two people are alike. A blood glucose reading of 158 mg/dl in two different people might have two different explanations.
Most people know that their bodies need glucose to fuel their activities and that certain foods or large quantities of almost any food will raise blood glucose. That’s the easy part. But just as cars require a complicated system of fuel pumps, ignition timing, batteries, pistons, and a zillion other things to convert gasoline into motion, our bodies rely on an intricate system to convert glucose into energy.
Back to basics
Insulin is a hormone secreted by the pancreas that helps regulate the way the body uses glucose. Its main job is to allow glucose in the blood to enter cells of the body where it can be used for energy. In people who don’t have diabetes, the pancreas changes how much insulin it releases depending on blood glucose levels. Eating a chocolate bar? The pancreas releases more insulin. Sleeping? The pancreas releases less insulin until the wee hours of the morning when the hormones secreted in the early morning natu Continue reading

Type 1 diabetes misdiagnosed in many adults

Type 1 diabetes misdiagnosed in many adults

Many might think type 1 diabetes is a "disease of childhood", but research, published in the Lancet Diabetes & Endocrinology, has found it has similar prevalence in adults.
More than 40% of Britons diagnosed with the condition are over 30.
Many of these are initially diagnosed with type 2, and receiving the wrong treatment can be life-threatening.
Charity Diabetes UK is calling for doctors not to rule out the possibility a patient over 30 might have type 1.
'Banging my head against a wall'
Helen Philibin, a mother of two from Torquay, who was 40, slim and active when she was diagnosed.
She said: "Having the wrong diagnosis was extremely frustrating. I just knew it wasn't right.
"I'm always running around with my two young kids and I walk the dog every day."
She visited her GP complaining of extreme thirst. A blood test strongly indicated she had diabetes.
Her doctor diagnosed her with type 2 and prescribed metformin, the most commonly-used drug for the condition. She was also sent on a course to learn about lifestyle factors including a low-sugar diet.
"All the other people on the course were in their mid-60s and overweight. I was 5ft 10in and nine-and-a-half stone. I stood out like a sore thumb," said Helen.
"When I raised it with nurses or my GP, I was told that type 1 diabetes is always diagnosed in childhood, so I had to be type 2. I felt like I was banging my head against a wall."
Helen changed her diet to get better blood sugar control - but she began vomiting up to four times a week.
"It was horrible," she said. "Even a single piece of toast would send my blood sugar Continue reading

Diabetic emergencies: Warning signs and what to do

Diabetic emergencies: Warning signs and what to do

Diabetes symptoms can quickly turn into emergencies.
The disease of diabetes was the seventh leading cause of death in the United States in 2010, claiming nearly 70,000 lives.
Responding promptly to symptoms of a diabetic emergency can be lifesaving.
Causes and types
Both type 1 and type 2 diabetes inhibit the body's ability to manage blood sugar levels. Type 1 diabetes does so by destroying the cells that produce insulin. Type 2 diabetes reduces how responsive the body is to insulin, while not enough insulin is produced to counter the sugar in the body.
Hence, most diabetic emergencies are related to disruptions in a person's blood sugar levels. Occasionally, even too much of a drug being used to treat diabetes can trigger a diabetic emergency.
The most common diabetic emergencies include the following:
Severe hypoglycemia
Hypoglycemia is when blood sugar levels are abnormally low. When blood sugar dips very low, it becomes a medical emergency.
Hypoglycemia normally only occurs in people with diabetes who take medication that lowers blood sugar. Blood sugar levels may drop dangerously low when a person is:
consuming too much alcohol
exercising, especially without adjusting food intake or insulin dosage
missing or delaying meals
overdosing on diabetic medication
Diabetic ketoacidosis
Diabetic ketoacidosis occurs when the body does not have enough insulin to break down glucose properly, and hormones that normally work opposite insulin are high.
Over time, the body releases hormones that break down fat to provide fuel. This produces acids called ketones. As ketones build up i Continue reading

NHS risking people's health by rationing test strips, Diabetes UK says

NHS risking people's health by rationing test strips, Diabetes UK says

The NHS is putting diabetic patients at risk of serious illness by rationing test strips that monitor blood glucose levels in an attempt to save money, a charity claims.
A survey carried out by Diabetes UK found that one in four complained of restrictions placed on the number of test strips they were prescribed by GP practices.
People with diabetes need to test their blood glucose regularly to monitor the condition. If not managed properly, diabetes can lead to health complications such as heart disease, strokes, blindness and amputations.
More than half of those professing problems had type 1 diabetes. Government guidance says this group should test themselves at least four times a day. Older people and those on low incomes were also affected, the charity found. Many said they felt they needed to buy test stripsonline, where quality cannot always be guaranteed.
People with diabetes were given a variety of reasons for the reduced number of strips prescribed, according to the charity. Some respondents to the survey said they had been told they should test less often. Some were told there were “budget constraints”, while others were told it was because they were testing too frequently.
“They said I had my allowance for the month,” said one respondent. Another said: “I was told they were expensive and we should test less. Only need to test four times a day. We use a pump, so need to test every two hours.”
Some said they were having to ask for repeat prescriptions more often. “I now need to order and collect a prescription monthly, or sooner, depending on any issu Continue reading

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