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Diabetes - Gestational Treatment

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You need to follow your doctor’s instructions for carefully monitoring your blood glucose levels.  You will need to check your blood glucose levels throughout the day.  Your doctor will help you establish a schedule.  Make sure that you write down the time that you tested your blood and the result.  Bring your logbook to each of your doctor appointments.
 
To test your blood glucose, you will prick your finger with a small sharp needle.  You will place a drop of blood on a test strip.  A glucose meter will display your results.  
 
Depending on the results of your blood test, you may need to inject yourself with insulin.  The insulin will help to control your blood glucose levels.  Your doctor will let you know how much insulin to use.  It will depend on your weight, what you eat, and how active you are.  As your pregnancy progresses, the placenta will produce more hormones, and you may need to use more insulin.  Your doctor will let you know how much more to use, based on the records in your logbook.
 
You may also need to check your urine, according to your doctor’s instructions.  You should test your urine for ketones when your blood glucose level is high.  Urine testing involves placing test strips in your urine sample and reading the results after a short period of time. 
 
Managing Gestational Diabetes also includes a nutritional component.  Your doctor or a registered nutritionist can help you plan what to eat to help regulate your blood glucose levels and weight.  It can be helpful to eat several small meals throughout the day.  Your health care professional can help you learn to make good food selections, read nutrition labels, measure portion sizes, and plan well-balanced meals.
 
Exercise is another important element for managing Gestational Diabetes.  Exercise may help to lower your blood glucose level, blood pressure, and cholesterol.  It also may help your body to use insulin better.  All pregnant women should consult with their doctor prior to beginning an exercise program.  Your doctor will let you know how much to exercise and the type of exercises that are safe for you. 
 
In addition to managing your blood sugar, eating smart, and exercising, you should also maintain appropriate cholesterol and blood pressure levels.  It is important not to smoke.  Not only is smoking unhealthy for your developing baby, but smoking can also increase blood sugar levels and contribute to the development of medical complications.  
 
Treatment for Gestational Diabetes can prevent symptoms from happening.  However, even with treatment, some problems associated with Gestational Diabetes may occur.  These conditions include hyperglycemia, ketoacidosis, and hypoglycemia. 
 
Hyperglycemia, also called high blood glucose, happens occasionally to people with diabetes.  Untreated hyperglycemia can lead to medical complications.  Hyperglycemia can occur for many reasons.  Women with Gestational Diabetes may experience it if their body is not using insulin effectively, if they do not have enough insulin, or if they ate more than planned and exercised less than planned.
 
The warning signs and symptoms of hyperglycemia include high blood glucose levels, high levels of sugar in the urine, frequent urination, and increased thirst.  You should follow your doctor’s instructions for treating hyperglycemia as soon as you detect high blood sugar levels or ketones in your urine—this is very important.  If you fail to do so, ketoacidosis could occur.  If you have ketones in your urine, do not exercise.  Exercising will only make the situation worse.
 
Ketoacidosis is a serious condition—it can lead to diabetic coma or death.  Ketones are acids that accumulate in the blood when your body breaks down fats.  Your body releases ketones through urine.  Ketones appear in urine when the body does not have enough insulin.  Ketoacidosis occurs when all of the ketones cannot be released through urine and the amount of ketones remaining in the blood becomes high enough to poison the body.  Ketoacidosis usually develops slowly, but when vomiting occurs, the condition can develop in just a few hours. 
 
The first symptoms of ketoacidosis include thirst, dry mouth, frequent urination, high blood glucose levels, and high levels of ketones in the urine.  These symptoms are followed by dry or flushed skin; continual tiredness; nausea, abdominal pain, or vomiting; difficulty breathing; impaired attention span or confusion; and fruity smelling breath.  If you have any of the symptoms contact your doctor immediately; call emergency services, usually 911; or go to the nearest emergency room.  Treatment for ketoacidosis usually involves a hospital stay. 
 
You can help prevent ketoacidosis by monitoring yourself for warning signs and checking your urine and blood regularly.  Follow your doctor’s instructions if you detect high levels of ketones.  If you have high levels of ketones, do not exercise.  Exercise increases the levels of ketones. 
 
Hypoglycemia, also called low blood sugar or insulin reaction, is not always preventable.  Hypoglycemia can occur even if you do everything that you can to manage your diabetes.  Symptoms of hypoglycemia include shakiness, dizziness, sweating, hunger, headache, pale colored skin, sudden moodiness, clumsiness, seizure, poor attention span, confusion, and tingling sensations around your mouth. 
 
Check your blood if you suspect that your blood glucose level is low.  You should treat hypoglycemia immediately.  The quickest way to treat hypoglycemia is to raise your blood sugar level with some form of sugar—glucose tablets, fruit juice, or hard candy.  Ask your doctor for a list of appropriate foods.  Once you have checked your blood glucose level and treated your hypoglycemia, repeat the process again until your signs and symptoms have cleared. 
 
It is important to treat hypoglycemia immediately or you could pass out.  If you pass out, you need immediate treatment.  You should receive an injection of glucagon.  Glucagon is a medication that raises blood sugar.  You should tell those around you how and when to use it.  If glucagon is not available, you need emergency medical assistance.  Someone should take you to the emergency room or call emergency medical services, usually 911.  If you pass out from hypoglycemia, you should not inject insulin or consume food or fluids.
 
Usually, blood glucose levels return to normal following the childbirth.  This is because the placenta, which was producing the hormones that caused insulin resistance, is delivered.  Your doctor will check to make sure that your blood sugar levels have returned to normal.  Additionally, your doctor will test you for diabetes several weeks after your delivery.  You should also be tested for Type 2 Diabetes in the future.  Women who develop Gestational Diabetes during pregnancy are at a higher risk for developing Type 2 Diabetes as they age. 

The insulin will help to control your blood glucose levels.  Your doctor will let you know how much insulin to use.  It will depend on your weight, what you eat, and how active you are.  As your pregnancy progresses , the placenta will produce more hormones, and you may need to use more insulin.  Your doctor will let you know how much more to use, based on the records in your logbook.

 
You may also need to check your urine, according to your doctor’s instructions.  You should test your urine for ketones when your blood glucose level is high.  Urine testing involves placing test strips in your urine sample and reading the results after a short period of time. 
 
Managing Gestational Diabetes also includes a nutritional component.  Your doctor or a registered nutritionist can help you plan what to eat to help regulate your blood glucose levels and weight.  It can be helpful to eat several small meals throughout the day.  Your health care professional can help you learn to make good food selections, read nutrition labels, measure portion sizes, and plan well-balanced meals.
 
Exercise is another important element for managing Gestational Diabetes.  Exercise may help to lower your blood glucose level, blood pressure, and cholesterol.  It also may help your body to use insulin better.  All pregnant women should consult with their doctor prior to beginning an exercise program.  Your doctor will let you know how much to exercise and the type of exercises that are safe for you. 
 
In addition to managing your blood sugar, eating smart, and exercising, you should also maintain appropriate cholesterol and blood pressure levels.  It is important  not to smoke.  Not only is smoking unhealthy for your developing baby, but smoking can also increase blood sugar levels and contribute to the development of medical complications.  
 
Treatment for Gestational Diabetes can prevent symptoms from happening. However, even with treatment, some problems associated with Gestational Diabetes may occur.  These conditions include hyperglycemia, ketoacidosis, and hypoglycemia. 
 
Hyperglycemia, also called high blood glucose, happens occasionally to people with diabetes.  Untreated hyperglycemia can lead to medical complications.  Hyperglycemia can occur for many reasons.  Women with Gestational Diabetes may experience it if their body is not using insulin effectively, if they do not have enough insulin, or if they ate more than planned and exercised less than planned.
 
The warning signs and symptoms of hyperglycemia include high blood glucose levels, high levels of sugar in the urine, frequent urination, and increased thirst.  You should follow your doctor’s instructions for treating hyperglycemia as soon as you detect high blood sugar levels or ketones in your urine—this is very important.  If you fail to do so, ketoacidosis could occur.  If you have ketones in your urine, do not exercise.  Exercising will only make the situation worse.
 
Ketoacidosis is a serious condition—it can lead to diabetic coma or death.  Ketones are acids that accumulate in the blood when your body breaks down fats.  Your body releases ketones through urine.  Ketones appear in urine when the body does not have enough insulin. Ketoacidosis occurs when all of the ketones cannot be released through urine and the amount of ketones remaining in the blood becomes high enough to poison the body.  Ketoacidosis usually develops slowly, but when vomiting occurs, the condition can develop in just a few hours. 
 
The first symptoms of ketoacidosis include thirst, dry mouth, frequent urination, high blood glucose levels, and high levels of ketones in the urine.  These symptoms are followed by dry or flushed skin; continual tiredness; nausea, abdominal pain, or vomiting; difficulty breathing; impaired attention span or confusion; and fruity smelling breath.  If you have any of the symptoms contact your doctor immediately; call emergency services, usually 911; or go to the nearest emergency room.  Treatment for ketoacidosis usually involves a hospital stay. 
 
You can help prevent ketoacidosis by monitoring yourself for warning signs and checking your urine and blood regularly.  Follow your doctor’s instructions if you detect high levels of ketones.  If you have high levels of ketones, do not exercise.  Exercise increases the levels of ketones. 
 
Hypoglycemia, also called low blood sugar or insulin reaction, is not always preventable.  Hypoglycemia can occur even if you do everything that you can to manage your diabetes.   Symptoms of hypoglycemia include shakiness, dizziness, sweating, hunger, headache, pale colored skin, sudden moodiness, clumsiness, seizure, poor attention span, confusion, and tingling sensations around your mouth. 
 
Check your blood if you suspect that your blood glucose level is low.  You should treat hypoglycemia immediately.  The quickest way to treat hypoglycemia is to raise your blood sugar level with some form of sugar—glucose tablets, fruit juice, or hard candy.  Ask your doctor for a list of appropriate foods.  Once you have  checked your blood glucose level and treated your hypoglycemia, repeat the process again until your signs and symptoms have cleared. 
 
It is important to treat hypoglycemia immediately or you could pass out.  If you pass out, you need immediate treatment.  You should receive an injection of glucagon.  Glucagon is a medication that raises blood sugar.  You should tell those around you how and when to use it.  If glucagon is not available, you need emergency medical assistance.  Someone should take you to the emergency room or call emergency medical services, usually 911. If you pass out from hypoglycemia, you should not inject insulin or consume food or fluids.
 
Usually, blood glucose levels return to normal following the childbirth.  This is because the placenta, which was producing the hormones that caused insulin resistance, is delivered.  Your doctor will check to make sure that your blood sugar levels have returned to normal.  Additionally, your doctor will test you for diabetes several weeks after your delivery.  You should also be tested for Type 2 Diabetes in the future.  Women who develop Gestational Diabetes during pregnancy are at a higher risk for developing Type 2 Diabetes as they age. 

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