(NaturalNews) In the first national study of its kind, the January issue of Obstetrics and Gynecology revealed that a diagnosis of diabetes during pregnancy, known as gestational diabetes, is indicative of a much greater risk in the years ahead for a diagnosis of Type 2 diabetes. The study titled "Gaps in Diabetes Screening During Pregnancy and Postpartum" was performed to determine testing patterns across the U.S. for gestational diabetes. However, the greater story in the study which emerged is the fact that a disease generally confined to the months of pregnancy could very well lead to increased future risk. If ever there was a time to think prevention of a highly preventable disease, when diagnosed with gestational diabetes, immediate changes in diet and lifestyle are necessary to overcome the odds.
The Bigger Picture Needs to Focus on Prevention
It is no surprise to those practicing holistic medicine to learn that a woman diagnosed with diabetes during pregnancy would be at a much greater risk for Type 2 diabetes. Every day your body, through exhibiting symptoms, is telling you what it can and cannot tolerate and when it is overburdened or undernourished. Albeit useful and necessary to utilize tests for diagnosis, it misses the much larger picture of a need for prevention of this disease. Type 2 diabetes has repeatedly shown itself to be a disease which is preventable. It is certainly a disease that dines heartily on the Western diet of processed food and sugar.
Benjamin Franklin once said, "An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure." Considering the cost of health care today, an ounce of prevention proves to be invaluable. According to the American Diabetes Association, the annual cost of treating diabetes in the U.S. is $174 billion. This is not a sustainable trend.
What Can You Do to Reduce Future Risk?
The answer is simple, but it is the effort most people wish to avoid. A growing number of medical studies have demonstrated that a diet consisting of low glycemic index foods has the potential to prevent insulin resistance syndrome, the precursor to full blown diabetes. Simply put, you need to avoid sugar, the worst form of sugar being high fructose corn syrup, limit grains in your diet, get moderate amounts of exercise and make sure you have adequate levels of Vitamin D. This is best accomplished by avoiding processed foods altogether and instead consuming a diet made up of whole, natural foods, including oils rich in Omega 3. This diet would support the body's immune system, reduce inflammation and help stabilize blood sugar levels. And because obesity is the number one risk factor for diabetes, weight loss is critical.
No doubt there are important tests that could be given during pregnancy, or even better before a woman becomes pregnant, which would measure Vitamin D levels as well as other critical nutrients and markers of good health, but these are not the tests the medical establishment is inclined to focus on. Instead we are frequently given tests for detection of disease which brings the individual further into the system of drugs, treatment often in the form of prescription medication, and that place where everyone carries a label. A broader vision would include taking the knowledge we have about diet and lifestyle and applying it to the very important period of pregnancy to reduce the risk of diabetes and prevent future disease.
Paula Rothstein is a freelance writer and certified holistic health coach active in the area of natural health and health freedom advocacy. As a graduate of the Institute for Integrative Nutrition, she has gained insight into the political nature of food, the failings of a drug-dependent healthcare system, and the uniqueness of individual health. For more information, please visit: http://www.medicinefreeliving.com.