Diabetes and Pregnancy
Diabetes that occurs in pregnancy is also known as gestational diabetes mellitus (GDM). It is a common medical problem, affecting up to 18% of all pregnancies.
Although risk factors aid in determining the chance of developing GDM, about half of those patients afflicted had no risk factors whatsoever.
Gestational Diabetes (GDM)
Gestational diabetes is characterized by high levels of blood sugar, typically during the later stages of pregnancy. While the exact causes of this problem are not completely understood, it is known that the hormones produced during pregnancy induce resistance to insulin (the primary hormone regulating glucose in humans). This pregnancy-related insulin resistance subsequently results in high circulating blood sugars (hyperglycemia). Gestational diabetes does not cause birth defects but it can affect the baby’s glucose levels and result in a larger than normal birth weight. Most cases of gestational diabetes resolve at the end of the pregnancy but the presence of GDM is clearly associated with an increased risk of developing the problem in future pregnancies. GDM also signifies the mother’s increased risk for developing Type 2 diabetes mellitus later on in life.
Insulin Pump Therapy
Many diabetes patients are required to give themselves insulin injections to maintain healthy blood glucose levels. Insulin pump therapy is a newer method of insulin delivery that allows patients to manage their diabetes around the clock without having to inject multiple doses of insulin throughout the day. The small pump is worn discreetly on the lower abdomen or back, where it can deliver insulin directly into the fat layer just beneath your skin. The timing and amount of insulin administered by the pump will vary among patients, but can be determined and programmed by our physicians, who are familiar with the use of these devices.
In addition to no longer requiring daily insulin injections, the benefits of insulin pump therapy include the ability to customize insulin doses and timing, helping to produce improved glucose control, which is felt to reduce the risk of developing certain diabetic complications.
Metabolic syndrome, also known as syndrome X, is a group of common conditions characterized by excess fat, insulin resistance and high blood pressure. More than 40 percent of people over the age of 50 in the United States suffer from metabolic syndrome. This condition often occurs when excess fat is stored around the abdomen and can increase the risk or heart attack, stroke and diabetes.
Pre-diabetes is a condition in which blood glucose levels are higher than normal, but not high enough to diagnose diabetes mellitus. A diagnosis of pre-diabetes indicates the patient is at a higher risk of developing Type 2 diabetes. Often, instituting a weight loss diet and incorporating a daily exercise regimen help to prevent or delay the development of pre-diabetes.
Type 1 Diabetes
Type 1 diabetes mellitus affects five percent of those patients diagnosed with diabetes. Previously known as juvenile diabetes, Type 1 diabetes is considered to be the result of an autoimmune disease in which the body attacks the insulin-producing cells of the pancreas, disabling the body’s ability to produce insulin.
Type 2 Diabetes
Type 2 diabetes mellitus is the most common form of diabetes mellitus. This type of diabetes is influenced by advancing age, obesity sedentary lifestyle and family history. Although the pancreas usually produces at least near-normal amounts of insulin, the body cannot use the insulin effectively. As a consequence, blood sugar control is abnormal due primarily to insulin resistance. The insulin resistance and subsequent high blood sugars are also felt to be responsible for the decrease in insulin production over time that occurs in this disease.