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Doctors urge early screening to catch gestational diabetes

Update: May, 10/2016 - 09:00
As the proportion of pregnant women with diabetes has risen in Việt Nam in the last 20 years, doctors are urging early screening to detect gestational diabetes. — Photo dantri.com.vn

Gia Lộc

HCM CITY — As the proportion of pregnant women with diabetes has risen in Việt Nam in the last 20 years, doctors are urging early screening to detect gestational diabetes. 

Dr Huỳnh Xuân Nghiêm, deputy head of Hùng Vương Hospital in HCM City, said: “The increase is alarming. This is a burden on both families and society. ”

He said that women who test positive for diabetes should be closely monitored during their pregnancy.

At a recent launch ceremony to open diabetes management division for Hùng Vương Hospital, Dr Huỳnh Nguyễn Khánh Trang, head of the ward for pregnant women with diseases, said that only 2 per cent -3 per cent of 1 million pregnant women who had visited the hospital for routine prenatal care had diabetes 20 years ago.

The proportion has increased to 10-15 per cent, Trang said.

Diabetes can occur during pregnancy when the pancreas does not produce sufficient insulin.

When diabetes is detected, patients are asked to change their diet. Sixty per cent of patients who receive guidance have a stable blood-sugar level.

Of the remaining proportion with an unstable blood-sugar level, the patients are hospitalised and eat meals provided by the hospital’s nutrition ward.

With such diets, blood sugar levels of 80 per cent of the patients can be controlled. The remaining are given insulin injections.

Experts have said that 80-90 per cent of patients with gestational diabetes can control their conditions with diet and exercise.

According to the International Diabetes Federation in Western Pacific, the prevalence of diabetes in adults (aged 20-79) in Việt Nam last year was 5.6 per cent, an increase from 2.9 per cent in 2010.

Last year, the number of adult mortalities due to diabetes was 53,457. The cost for each patient with diabetes was US$163.

Việt Nam’s rate of diabetes in adults aged 20-32 is higher than global rates and countries in the Western Pacific region.

At Hùng Vương Hospital, a 28-year-old pregnant woman from Cần Thơ said she was  diagnosed last month with gestational diabetes.

When she was 28 weeks pregnant, she was asked to be screened at the Cần Thơ Obstetrics Hospital. The test showed that her blood sugar level was higher than normal.

“I then came to Hùng Vương Obstetrics Hospital for treatment. Now the sugar level in blood is controlled. Doctors gave me guidance about my diet to prevent the level from increasing,” she said.

Dangers

Nghiêm said that gestational diabetes can cause pre-eclampsia and hypertension during pregnancy.

According to a report by researchers at the University of Toronto published in 2013 in Healthline, pre-eclampsia, gestational diabetes and hypertension can increase the risk of developing type 2 diabetes up to 18 times.

Miscarriages, still births and premature babies can occur because of gestational diabetes, he added.

“The babies born to these mothers can be fat and ruddy, but not healthy, and have respiratory system problems,” he said, adding that the babies could get diabetes.

If they receive good treatment, diabetes will not develop among mothers and babies after delivery, Nghiêm said.

He said that pregnant women should exercise and eat food with fiber, and reduce fat and calories to prevent gestational diabetes.

More fruit, whole grains and vegetables should be included in the diet. -- VNS

 

 

 

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