Gestational diabetes (occurring in last trimester of pregnancy) and type 1 diabetes (autoimmune or insulin dependent diabetes) are 2 separate entities forming a small portion of patients suffering from diabetes.
Management Comprises of:
Dietary modifications: Eat whole grains, fruits and vegetables and limited amount of fat and refined sugars. Eating the right portions, avoiding long time gaps between two meals would prevent hyperglycaemic and hypoglycaemic episodes.
Physical activity: Aerobic exercise, strength training, flexibility exercises/stretching; balance exercises, and activity throughout the day are the types of activities recommended for people with diabetes.
We recommend: Aiming for 30 minutes of moderate-to-vigorous intensity aerobic exercise at least 5 days a week or a total of 150 minutes per week. Spread your activity out over at least 3 days during the week and try not to go more than 2 days in a row without exercising. Strength training (also called resistance training) makes your body more sensitive to insulin and can lower blood glucose. It helps to maintain and build strong muscles and bones, reducing your risk for osteoporosis and bone fractures.
Monitoring for complications and addressing them:
Neuropathy: Patients with uncontrolled or long standing diabetes can either have abnormal sensations or loss of sensations in their limbs, mostly legs .numb feet are more prone to injuries and burns leading to amputations.
This can be prevented by:
Avoiding walking barefoot, careful daily examination of the feet with hand held mirror, early medical attention in case of cuts, swelling or redness. Wearing the right footwear compared to Hawaii chappals.
Retinopathy: Regular check-up for any leakages/bleeding from retinal vessels and treating them with lasers can prevent this very common cause of blindness.
Cardiovascular disease: Diabetics are more likely to suffer from heart attacks, brain strokes and foot amputations than general population.
The author is the Consultant Diabetologist, K J Somaiya Hospital and Superspeciality Centre