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Study Helps Understand Different Subtypes 
Of Gestational Diabetes.
Article By: Patrick Mansfield | U.S. Health Alerts

Gestational Diabetes

Although not every type of diabetes is the same, this medical condition generally occurs when the body makes insufficient amounts of insulin to keep up with its demands. A lot has been said and shared about the two most common forms of diabetes, namely: Type 1 diabetes And Type 2 diabetes

However, we have simply begun to gain a more comprehensive understanding of the fact that several different things can go wrong to destroy or damage the cells responsible for making insulin completely. Although type 1 diabetes is associated with autoimmunity, it is still possible that a variety of triggers for the immune attack exist. On the other hand, there seems to be a number of environmental and genetic factors that contribute to or cause the risk for type 2 diabetes. As such, understanding every single factor that causes or contributes to diabetes is significantly important.

By achieving such an understanding, pinpointing the exact cause or set of factors that contributed to a particular case of diabetes might be a possibility. Armed with such details, we can then prescribe a specific mode of treatment and medication, one that will selectively treat whatever went wrong with that particular individual.

Gestational diabetes is a type of diabetes that occurs during pregnancy. However, it will typically go away once the affected mother delivers. Unfortunately, this kind of diabetes might increase the risks of developing complications related to childbirth, large birth weight, and future type 2 diabetes in both the child and mother.

Although this type of diabetes has always been considered as a uniform medical condition, Marie-France Hivert, MD, thinks that it could have a variety of causes, same as every other type of diabetes. Once we have attained a better understanding of the different causes, we might then be able to link each of them to the variations in outcomes and determine those who are more likely to develop complications.

A recent report detailing the findings of Dr. Hivert's group shows that women who have this particular type of diabetes suffered from one of two defects:
  • Primary insulin sensitivity, which is when a body lacks the ability to use insulin properly.
  • Primary insulin secretion, which is a flaw that makes the body unable to make enough insulin
Despite receiving the same level of care and treatment for this medical condition, women affected by primary insulin sensitivity showed higher body mass index, more elevated levels of fasting glucose, and delivered larger birth weight infants compared to those affected by primary insulin secretion.In addition, women affected by insulin secretion defects showed the same results as those who were not suffering from the disease. 

Apart from supporting the idea that various subtypes of gestational diabetes exist, these observations corroborate the notion that the different types can result in a variety of complications that require individualized treatment.

Thanks to the Pathway to Stop Diabetes grant fund offered by the American Diabetes Association, Dr. Hivert will continue her research. Her aim is to study the influence genes have on blood glucose regulation when a woman is pregnant, and determine the link between gestational diabetes subtypes and genetics.

With this information at hand, professional health care providers will probably start treating women who are more likely to develop complications while they are pregnant or after they deliver, as well as their children, with more intensive treatments.
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