ARTICLE: Gestational and Malnutrition Related Diabetes


Gestational Diabetes is a temporary form of insulin resistance that usually occurs halfway through a pregnancy. It results from excessive hormone production in the body, or the inability of the pancreas make the additional insulin that is needed during pregnancy in women with no previous history of diabetes. Without enough insulin, sugar builds up in the blood to high levels. This is called hyperglycemia.

Gestational diabetes affects about four percent of all pregnant women although it is usually goes away after childbirth. Untreated gestational diabetes can lead to problems for both the mother and the child. Although insulin does not cross through the placenta to the baby, sugar and other nutrients do.

Extra blood sugar goes through the placenta, giving the baby high blood sugar level. This causes the baby’s pancreas to produce extra insulin to get rid of the blood sugar, which can lead to microsomatia or a fat baby syndrome. Microsomatia develops because extra blood sugar and insulin cause the baby’s body to produce extra fat.

Babies with microsomatia are prone to other health problems including damage to their shoulders during birth. Because of the extra insulin newborns may have very low blood sugar levels at birth and may also have a higher risk of breathing problems.

The treatment of gestational diabetes should start quickly to prevent adverse effects to the mother and the baby. It should aim to keeping blood sugar level equal to those of pregnant women who do not have gestational diabetes. Treatment includes special meal plans and scheduled physical activity as well as daily blood sugar testing, so as to keep it under control.

In developing countries like India, a special kind of diabetes is noticed. It was designated as Malnutrition Related Diabetes in 1995 by WHO. It occurs largely in young malnourished individuals in developing countries. In India it affects nearly one percent of the country’s diabetic population.

It is characterized by early onset, usually before the age of 30 years, and requires insulin for controlling blood sugar.

Another variation of Malnutrition Related Diabetes is Fibro Calculous Pancreatic Diabetes. It has high prevalence in tropical and developing countries. In India it occurs more in southern states. It is characterized by recurrent abdominal pain.

Malnutrition Related Diabetes is though to be related to malnutrition during natal and early childhood.

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