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Wednesday, January 4, 2012

Gestational diabetes is a type of diabetes, or high blood sugar, that only pregnant women get.

In fact, the word gestational means pregnant. If a woman gets high blood sugar when she’s pregnant, but she never had high blood sugar before, she has gestational diabetes.

Nearly 200,000 pregnant women get the condition every year, making it one of the top health concerns related to pregnancy.

If not treated, gestational diabetes can cause problems for mothers and babies. Some of these problems can be serious.

High blood glucose levels before and during pregnancy can:

  1. Worsen your long-term diabetes complications, such as vision problems, heart disease, and kidney disease
  2. Increase the chance of problems for your baby, such as being born too early, weighing too much or too little, and having low blood glucose or other health problems at birth
  3. Increase the risk of your baby having birth defects
  4. Increase the risk of losing your baby through miscarriage or stillbirth

When the kidneys are working well, the tiny filters in your kidneys, the glomeruli, keep protein inside your body. You body needs the protein to stay healthy.

The glomeruli also help to clean the blood from toxic subsstances. When kidneys are healthy, the artery brings blood and wastes from the bloodstream into the kidneys. The glomeruli then filters the toxic waste products and extra fluid which are then passed out of the body through urine.

High blood glucose and high blood pressure damage the kidneys’ filters. When the kidneys are damaged, the protein leaks out of the kidneys into the urine. Damaged kidneys do not do a good job of cleaning out wastes and extra fluid. Wastes and fluid build up in your blood instead of leaving the body in urine.

Insulin resistance is a silent condition that increases the chances of developing diabetes and heart disease. Your body basically stops responding to insulin.

Pancreas: The production factory of Insulin
Pancreas: The production factory of Insulin

What does insulin do?

After you eat, the food is broken down into glucose, the simple sugar that is the main source of energy for the body's cells. But your cells cannot use glucose without insulin, a hormone produced by the pancreas.

Insulin helps the cells take in glucose and convert it to energy.

When the pancreas does not make enough insulin or the body is unable to use the insulin that is present, the cells cannot use glucose. Excess glucose builds up in the bloodstream, setting the stage for diabetes.