Friday, November 03, 2006
EVEN a mild elevation in a woman's blood sugar in pregnancy may greatly increase the risk that her child will develop diabetes later in life, according to Sydney research that suggests the health consequences of the present obesity epidemic could persist for generations.
The findings - which come amid a surge in diagnoses of pregnancy-related diabetes linked to women's excess weight - underline a need for diabetes screening for all pregnant women rather than just those thought to be at high risk, experts say.
They also add urgency to public health measures to deal with the nation's weight crisis, as today's young women gain kilograms at an unprecedented rate even before motherhood.
It was already known that having full-blown diabetes in pregnancy increased the risk of the disease for children. But the research from Blacktown Hospital, published in the journal Diabetic Medicine, suggests even gestational diabetes - usually considered a transient and relatively trivial condition - may have long-term health effects on offspring.
Dr Mark McLean, a specialist in diabetes and endocrinology, asked 5850 women attending antenatal clinics whether either of their parents had diabetes. Those whose mothers had the disease were twice as likely to have elevated blood sugar in pregnancy than those whose fathers had it.
Because diabetes genes are thought to be inherited equally from fathers and mothers, the difference was unlikely to be explained by genetic factors, Dr McLean said, and therefore might be attributable to the effect of the mothers' blood glucose levels on the daughters while in the uterus.
At Blacktown Hospital the condition affected 5.4 per cent of pregnancies in the first six months of this year - a near doubling compared with the 3.4 per cent affected as recently as 2002, Dr McLean said.
Dr McLean said doctors' main concern had been the large size of babies of women with gestational diabetes, which caused birth problems. "It has really only been viewed as a short-term issue," he said.
Gestational diabetes is treated with dietary changes and sometimes insulin injections.
The Royal Australian and New Zealand College of Obstetrics and Gynaecology would review its position on gestational diabetes screening, which it has so far not recommended for all women, said its spokesman, Jeremy Oats.
"The evidence is certainly becoming very strong that there is a benefit for screening," said Professor Oats, clinical director of women's services at Melbourne's Royal Women's Hospital. "The question is what [blood sugar level] we should call abnormal."
David McIntyre, director of endocrinology and obstetric medicine at Mater Health Services in Brisbane, said the findings "may be one of the reasons why diabetes is accelerating at such a great rate … maybe you're getting a self-perpetuating cycle, programming a new generation of girls to have an increased tendency to diabetes".Source: SMH
Thursday, November 02, 2006
- Tummy crunches - Lie down on your back, bend knees and look forward. Lift your shoulders and head up off the floor, pulling in your abdominal muscles. Exhale as you come up and inhale as you lower back down toward the floor. Repeat 5 times, increasing repetitions as you get stronger. For a twist, stretch your right hand across to the left knee as you lift your shoulders and head up from the floor. Repeat 5 times each side, adding more crunches as your body strengthens.
- Hips and thighs - Lie on your right side with your knee slightly bent and toes facing forward. Raise your left leg, then lower. Repeat 5 times and switch to the left leg.
- Leg lifts - Stand straight with knees slighty bent, using the back of a chair for balance. Extend one leg out behind you. Lift and lower your leg, keeping your abdomen tucked in. Repeat 5 times each leg.
- Stretch before and after your exercise to keep your muscles flexible.