Type 2 Diabetes – Predicting Gestational Diabetes Early

Gestational diabetes is similar to Type 2 diabetes except it occurs during pregnancy. While it is a temporary form of the disease which usually disappears after childbirth, it is a sign of insulin resistance and means full-blown Type 2 diabetes could be around the corner. The condition is generally diagnosed between weeks 24 and 26 of the pregnancy. If it could be predicted earlier physicians and midwives might be able, in the words of the old western movies, to “head ’em off at the pass.” Diet and exercise, and perhaps medication, could be prescribed early to prevent Gestational diabetes in those women at high risk once they have been identified. Blood sugar levels could be watched carefully, and treatment began sooner than 24 weeks if need be.

In July of 2018, the online journal PLOS One reported on a review and analysis of earlier studies on screening for the early detection of the Gestational diabetes risk. Researchers at the University of Iowa in Iowa City, United States, combined the results of…

  • thirteen earlier investigations of molecules called plasma protein-A as a possible indicator of what was to come.
  • they did the same with nine studies of the molecule free beta-hCG.

They found both molecules were lower in the blood of women who later developed diabetes during their pregnancy, than in women who did not produce the condition. The investigators recommend more studies be carried out to determine whether measurements of the two molecules during the first three months of pregnancy could be a practical way of deciding which pregnant women needed intense therapy to ward off Gestational diabetes.

Plasma protein-A, an enzyme, is measured during the first three months, or trimester, of pregnancy to detect the possibility of trisomy 21, or Down Syndrome, or other conditions in which the fetus has extra chromosomes. It is made by the placenta and fetus, starting in the first trimester and increasing throughout the pregnancy. It is thought…

  • to keep the mother’s immune system from attacking the fetus as an invader,
  • helping the fetus grow bones, and developing
  • new blood vessels.

It has been suggested for use in diagnosing…

  • weak growth in the fetus,
  • premature birth,
  • a condition known as preeclampsia in the mother, and
  • stillbirth.

The beta-hCG is a hormone produced by the placenta after implantation. The presence of hCG is detected in some pregnancy tests and can be detected in the urine at about two weeks and is used to diagnose pregnancy. It increases up to about two months and then levels off. Repetitive blood tests detect whether levels are rising as they should be and can be helpful in diagnosing…

  • dating the pregnancy,
  • a possible miscarriage,
  • blighted egg cell, or
  • pregnancy outside of the uterus.

With the same steps taken to handle Type 2 diabetes, Gestational diabetes can often be stopped from developing into full-blown Type 2 diabetes.

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