Bengaluru: Diabetes is a growing menace in India. The disease while having serious health implications in its own right, is more menacing with its oncet with pregnancy as it endangers the health of both the mother and the child.
According to a recent report published by the Public Health Foundation of India (PHFI) Bengaluru chapter shockingly around 19% of the pregnant women in India are stricken by Diabetes.
The findings were revealed at a workshop conducted by PHFI on ‘Non- Communicable Diseases-Prevention and control in Karnataka,’ on Thursday.
The present study was conducted in three government hospitals in Bengaluru where it screened 3,301 pregnant women. The results revealed that while 81.2% of the women had a normal glucose level, the remaining (18.8%) suffered from gestational diabetes mellitus (GDM).
“One in six pregnant women suffers from GDM. The prevalence rate is scary. The high burden of diabetes during pregnancy and inefficient screening in public hospitals require public policy intervention,” Dr Giridhar Babu, professor and head, Lifecourse Epidemiology, PHFI, who is spearheading the research, told TOI .
The study found that 1,755 met the golden standard test- Oral Glucose Tolerance Test (OGTT). In OGTT, 75gram of oral glucose is given to pregnant women on empty stomach between 24-36 weeks to detect gestational diabetes mellitus. The test is tougher, given that pregnant women face issues like gastritis. After administration of the glucose, a blood test is done to check sugar levels.
With the lack of guidelines in place on which test needs to be conducted to screen a pregnant woman for gestational diabetes, hospitals are making use of different tests. “This is happening despite OGTT being considered a gold standard test. Random blood glucose tests don’t serve the purpose,” said Dr Babu.
Further, as per the study, only 4.4% of pregnant women in other government hospitals of Bengaluru were diagnosed with GDM, indicating poor screening.
Gestational diabetes mellitus (GDM) is defined as any degree of glucose intolerance with onset or first recognition during pregnancy. GDM carries a small but potentially important risk of adverse perinatal outcomes and a longer-term risk of obesity and glucose intolerance in offspring. Mothers with GDM have an excess of hypertensive disorders during pregnancy and a high risk of diabetes mellitus thereafter. A baby’s organs, such as the brain, heart, kidneys, and lungs, start forming during the first 8 weeks of pregnancy. High blood glucose levels can be harmful during this early stage and can increase the chances of birth defects, such as heart defects or defects of the brain or spine. In pregnant women, hormonal and other changes in the body to affect blood glucose levels. High blood glucose can also increase the chances of having a miscarriage or a stillborn baby.