Gestational diabetes high in India

Tue, 07 Feb 2006
Gestational diabetes, a form of diabetes that develops in pregnant women, is at a very high rate in India. Furthermore, predictions for the future are also disturbing, with enormous estimations from experts. A leading diabetologist has predicted that over the course of the next twenty or thirty years 20 million women of reproductive age will develop gestational diabetes in India. This therefore created the potential for similarly high levels of maternal and child morbidity.

A recent national survey conducted in India has found that Gestational Diabetes Mellitus accounted for over 16 per cent of pregnant women. This level is similar to the rate of impaired glucose tolerance in India. Gestational diabetes significantly increases the patients’ risk of developing type 2 diabetes, and also affects the likelihood of the child to develop impaired glucose tolerance or type 2 diabetes in early adolescence. Fluctuations in the blood sugar level of a mother during pregnancy can affect foetal development in the pancreas, and lead to susceptibility to diabetes development. This effect is independent of genetic pre-condition.

The need, in India and in many other countries around the globe, is to screen all pregnant women for glucose tolerance. India is suffering badly in the diabetes epidemic, and beginning to control gestational diabetes is an essential step on the road to bringing the disease under control. Pregnancy Study Group India is meeting to decide the future.
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