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The week began with honoring mom and all that she does for her children. The week continues with the National Diabetes Education Program continuing to bring awareness about the impact of gestational diabetes on both mother and child. The National Diabetes Education Program (NDEP) is a joint initiative of the National Institutes of Health and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. During National Women’s Health Week, which is from May 13-19, the program will work toward educating women about the dangers of gestational diabetes amongst themselves as well as their children.

The National Diabetes Education (NDEP), which was founded in 1997, is jointly sponsored by the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases of the National Institutes of Health and the Division of Diabetes Translation of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention with support of more than 200 partner organizations.

According to the NDEP, diabetes is a serious disease and can pose tremendous even fatal risks when it is left undiagnosed or untreated. If left undiagnosed or untreated, diabetes can lead to serious health problems which include: heart disease, blindness, kidney disease, stroke, amputation, and even death. Early diagnosis and treatment is key when it comes to diabetes.

The NDEP further states the benefits of its initiatives to raise awareness of gestational diabetes: “NDEP addresses and engages children and adults with diabetes their families, and caregivers; children and adults at risk for developing type 2 diabetes and their families; and health care professionals and community health workers.”

Further data compiled from the NDEP states that nearly 26 million Americans have diabetes. One out of every four people with diabetes does not know that he or she has the disease. An additional 79 million adults in the United States have pre diabetes which is defined as a condition that increases chances of developing type 2 diabetes.

The impact of gestational diabetes is a profound one, especially on mothers-to-be. The NDEP states that each year gestational diabetes (GDM), which is a type of diabetes that occurs during pregnancy, occurs in at least 7% and possibly as many as 18% of pregnancies in the US. Once the pregnancy ends does not mean the end of the diabetes ends. Approximately half of mothers who had GDM will develop type 2 diabetes over the course of the next 10 to 20 years should current trends remain. With this trend in mind, the American College of Obstetrics and Gynecology (Green Journal) recently published a commentary by Dr. Steven Gabbe, Dr. Mark Landon, and the NDEP’s Dr. Judith Fradkin. Within the publication was a request for providers to re-double their efforts in continuing to track and monitor GDM among mothers long after the pregnancy has ended.

In Harris County, statistics indicate that nine percent of adults have diagnosed diabetes. Texas is a state that is known to have a high-rate of diabetes diagnosis and furthermore it is importent for women to report abnormal medical conditions to their health care provider. Gestational diabetes usually begins halfway through the pregnancy. All pregnant women should receive an oral glucose tolerance test between the 24th and 28th week of pregnancy to screen for the condition. Women who have risk factors for gestational diabetes may have this test conducted earlier in the pregnancy.

Once you are diagnosed with gestational diabetes, you can check your progress by testing your glucose level at home. The most common way involves pricking your finger and putting a drop of your blood on a machine that will give you a glucose reading. Learn more about diabetes and trends from the NDEP as well as additional information below:

Health/Beauty Wellness Wednesday: Understanding Gestational Diabetes With Mother, Child  was originally published on