Ana Theresa Williams BSN RN
With this year’s theme “Women and Diabetes Our Right to a Healthy Fu-ture,” for World Dia-betes Day 2017 cele-brated last Sunday, what do you think would first come out in your mind?
You might ask this question, such as, ‘are women more affected by diabetes compared to men?’ You are right when saying that. In fact, the International Diabetes Federation said there are currently over 199 million women living with diabetes and two out of every five women with diabetes are of child-rearing age.
Diabetes actually increases the risk of early miscarriage or having a baby with malformations, according to Diabetes Philippines Davao Chapter president Dr. Suzette Alegarbes.
She said one in seven births is affected by gestational diabetes and women who are overweight or obese, have a family history of diabetes, and are older have nearly twice the risk of developing type 2 diabetes mellitus.
Dr. Alegarbes said women, as mothers, have a huge influence over the long-term health status of their children. Women serve as the gatekeepers of household nutrition and lifestyle habits and there-fore have the potential to drive prevention from the household and beyond, she said.
Thus, if your mother loves to cook and prepare unhealthy foods that are rich in fats, cholesterol, or even fancy some salty snacks while some foods bought are also sweet, then it will certainly affect the health of the whole household; this includes the children for sure.
Gestational diabetes develops during pregnancy or gestation. Like other types of diabetes, gestatio-nal diabetes affects how your cells use sugar or glucose, your body’s main fuel.
Gestational diabetes causes high blood sugar that can affect your pregnancy and your baby’s health.
In gestational diabetes, blood sugar usually returns to normal soon after delivery. But if you’ve had gestational diabetes, you’re at risk for future type 2 diabetes. You’ll continue working with your health care team to monitor and manage your blood sugar.
For most women, gestational diabetes doesn’t cause noticeable signs or symptoms. Rarely, gesta-tional diabetes may cause excessive thirst or increased urination.
If possible, seek health care early — when you first think about trying to get pregnant — so your doctor can evaluate your risk of gestational diabetes as part of your overall childbearing wellness plan. Once you become preg-nant, your doctor will address gestational diabetes as part of your regular prenatal care. If you develop gestational diabetes, you may need more frequent checkups. These are most likely to occur during the last three months of pregnancy, when your doctor will carefully monitor your blood sugar level and your baby’s health.
Your OB-Gyn doctor may refer you to additional health professionals who specialize in diabetes management, such as an endocrinologist, a registered dietitian or a diabetes educator. They can help you learn to manage your blood sugar level during your pregnancy.
To make sure that your blood sugar level has returned to normal after your baby is born, your health care team will check your blood sugar right after delivery and again in six weeks. Once you’ve had gestational diabetes, it’s a good idea to have your blood sugar level tested regularly. The fre-quency of blood sugar tests will in part depend on your test results soon after you deliver your baby.
Again, any woman can develop gestational dia-betes, but some women are at greater risk. Risk factors for gestational diabetes include age greater than 25, family or personal health history such as prediabetes or you delivered a baby who weighed more than 9 pounds or if you had an unexplained stillbirth, excess weight or signifi-cantly overweight with a body mass index of 30 or higher, and nonwhite race such as black, Hispanic, American Indian or Asian.
There are no guaran-tees when it comes to preventing gestational diabetes — but the more healthy habits you can adopt before pregnancy, the better. If you’ve had gestational diabetes, these healthy choices may also reduce your risk of having it again in future pregnancies or developing type 2 diabetes down the road. Eat healthy foods or choose foods high in fiber and low in fat and calories. Focus on fruits, vegetables and whole grains. Keep active by exercising before and during pregnancy to help protect you against developing gestational diabetes at least 30 minutes of moderate activity on most days of your week.
This is common sense, but it’s not common to all: lose excess pounds before pregnancy and NOT during pregnancy to help you get a healthier pregnancy.
HEALTHWATCHING: Know therefore that the LORD your God is God; he is the faithful God, keeping his cove-nant of love to a thou-sand generations of those who love him and keep his commandments. Deutero-nomy 7:9