Tuesday, June 9, 2009

Sugar: To Eat or Not to Eat

It really is kind of a tough question! Since last Thursday, I've been facing the possibility of having Gestational Diabetes. Wednesday, June 3, I took my standard one-hour glucose tolerance test. It was a bad day, which pretty well screwed me up for the rest of the week because I never really got a good chance to recover from the initial experience. I failed pretty badly. To give you an idea, a person taking a GTT has a normal reading if showing 95-140 in their blood sugar levels. My blood sugar was at 180. Not good. Especially considering that while not required, I fasted because it was just easier for me than trying to figure out what I could or couldn't eat the morning of my test. I had a small glass of milk, which would have had SOME effect on my levels, but certainly not THAT much.

When you fail the first test you are required to go back into the doctor to take a more involved 3-hour test. Mine was yesterday. This time, I was required to fast before hand. I arrived just after 9:00am, already feeling a little queasy because my stomach had been empty for over 12 hours. They drew my blood to find my fasting blood sugar, and then I had to drink a bottle of orange flavored glucose (100g concentrated). YUM!! *twitch* FYI, the bottle I drank for the 1-hour test was 50g of glucose.

After only half an hour, I was ready to die. I was dizzy, nauseous, and pretty much just wanted to kill the obnoxious family yacking away sitting on the other side of the waiting room from me. They wouldn't go away!!!!! Tell me, really, who the heck needs to take the entire family with you - old parents, sister, and little girl - just to go have your yearly checkup?! Good gravy!

Fortunately, the staff at my doctor's office is really sweet and accomidating and they checked one me to see how I was doing - I'm pretty sure one of the front desk girls saw me getting up to move to another seat (after the Clampets left, we took over their station right by a plug so Scott and I could watch a movie on his laptop) and she had a nurse come see how I was feeling. I lasted in the waiting room for the remainder of my first hour, and then they took me back into my own private exam room to sit out the remainder of the test. Then, they sent Scott back after my second blood draw of the day. He finished the movie, I slept. Believe me, being able to lie down and fall asleep made the entire experience a LOT more endurable. After some napping, and two more blood draws, we went home and I was feeling quite a bit more recovered than after the last ordeal. That could be a good or it could mean nothing. At this juncture, I feel like my body IS processing the sugars, just a lot more slowly than it really should.

So now I wait... and while I've been waiting, I've been doing my research. Call me a little bit of a data freak if you want. I'm a researcher. I like to be able to understand what my body is doing, what it's going through, and when family or friends of mine get conditions I don't understand as well as I'd like to (Chronic Lyme's Disease, Celiac, Diabetes), I do some research so I can have a better picture of what they're dealing with. So I Googled. I found a great article on the American Diabetes Association website that gave me some good information for what I may be potentially facing. Follow the link for more info, but here are the basics:

Gestational Diabetes affects about 4% of pregnant women, about 135,000 cases each year. So, while it's not a common problem to have, it's common enough that they certainly don't want to make the mistake of overlooking it. GD works in your body similarly to the way that Type 2 Diabetes would affect you. Because of the hormones in your body as a result of the placenta feeding and growing your baby, the insulin the pancreas is creating isn't able to adequately do its job to break down sugars. This is a pregnant woman's special version of Insulin Resistance. Since it's happening as a direct result of the pregnancy, it will go away after delivery and BS levels should return to normal. Occasionally, having GD can uncover Type 1 or 2 Diabetes in the mom, although it's not very common for that to happen. What IS common, however, is for mom to get GD in subsequent pregnancies (about 75% chance), and of developing Type 2 years down the road.

The biggest concern of GD is how it affects your developing baby. Most commonly, when not treated properly, GD will result in Macrosomia, or "fat baby." Since the placenta is absorbing nutrients from you to feed and develop baby, if you have access sugars in your body, so does your baby. You both have a pancreas going into overdrive trying to combat the excess sugars, causing abnormal weight gain. Babies with Macrosomia are much more likely to have heart problems, weight problems, etc,. later in life. What's good to know, however, is that large baby doesn't necessarily mean GD. It just means it's one possible cause. Big babies are born all the time to perfectly healthy moms with no complications to speak of.

So there you have it, now we're both a little more educated, and I've beaten a little more time while waiting to hear from the doctor or not, about how my blood test turned out. If I don't hear from them, we're good!! I'll keep you posted. ;-)

1 comment:

becomingkate said...

I had that with Jamie (in 1988) but I don't recall doing anything special, other than more regular visits. Best wishes!

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