What We Must Know About Gestational Diabetes
Diabetes is a growing health concern in our country, with over half the population in India at risk of developing this condition at some point in their lives. The number of people getting diagnosed with both type 1 and type 2 diabetes is increasing daily.
Research indicates that – ‘Among the top 10 countries in the world, India stands second with 69.2 million people with diabetes and another 36.5 million with prediabetes.’
I have two close family members living with diabetes and I have seen them changing their entire lifestyle and routine to manage this health condition. I too developed Gestational Diabetes during pregnancy and was put on a strict diet and exercise. Diabetes is manageable with proper glucose monitoring, consistent exercise, and adequate nutrition.
Living Fully With Diabetes
Recently I had the chance to attend an event on Living Fully With Diabetes and how continuous glucose monitoring system help monitor glucose levels effectively.
Let’s first know about the types of diabetes and also the factors that impact glucose levels.
Types Of Diabetes
There are 2 forms of Diabetes –Type 1 diabetes and Type 2. Both are characterized by higher than normal blood sugar levels, but they’re different in how they’re caused and how they develop. Type 1 diabetes is a genetic condition that often shows up early in life. Type 2 diabetes is mainly lifestyle-related and develops over time.
Understanding Gestational Diabetes
Another type of Diabetes is Gestational Diabetes. It occurs when a pregnant woman, who doesn’t have a history of diabetes, has trouble regulating her glucose levels during pregnancy. Women developing gestational diabetes require extra care and follow-up.
The good news is that blood sugar regulation is easy with proper meal planning and exercise routine. This also helps prevent complications during pregnancy.
(Feature Image Credit- istock photos)
The first step in managing gestational diabetes is knowing fully what makes our glucose levels increase and decrease.
Here are some important factors that affect glucose levels:
Diet – Healthy eating habits is the key to glucose management. Always consult your doctor or dietitian about the best food choices and the appropriate balance of food types if you are diagnosed with gestational diabetes.
Staying Active – Encouraging regular exercise and daily physical activity is crucial if you are caregiver to someone with gestational diabetes.
Stress Management – When we’re stressed, the hormones that our body produces in response to prolonged stress may cause a rise in the glucose level. Engaging in activities and relaxation techniques like deep breathing and yoga can help keep stress at bay.
Sharing some pointers I learned from the discussion that are important to remember especially as a caregiver
- Diabetes is not only linked to sugar but the entire food that we consume. Proper meal-planning and balanced nutrition play a major role in the same.
- Eating more processed, energy-dense, high sugar, high glycemic index food adds to the risk. Replacing these with fresh fruits, legumes, pulses, nuts, chia seeds, fiber-rich food, etc works in the way of prevention.
- Blood glucose levels should be checked on a regular basis, especially for the elderly. You may need to test, before meals and snacks and before and after exercise. It is recommended that you speak to your doctor for any advice or medication.
- Gestational Diabetes too can best be managed by monitoring the sugar levels regularly. Along with it eating small frequent meals and focussing on the right nutrients helps.
Proper Glucose Monitoring
Dietary changes, exercise, and modifications to lifestyle can ensure that blood glucose levels are under check. Along with it, consistent monitoring is important. Since high blood glucose levels do not usually produce any symptoms, monitoring remains a critical component of diabetes management.
Opt for using a simple and effective continuous glucose monitoring to monitor how one’s stress levels can impact glucose levels.
CGM devices work wonders in monitoring glucose levels day and night. They can help one know how a particular food item or exercise is impacting one’s body.
Diabetes care and management are manageable if we constantly monitor our blood sugar levels, eat nutritious foods and get adequate exercise.
Disclaimer: This post is in collaboration with Abbott. However, the views and opinions expressed here are my own.