Welcome back to all of my returning readers as well as to those who are new readers. If you’ve been following this blog for any length of time, you already know that Dr. Scharf enjoys teaching and updating his readers and patients about all things dental. For those of you new to this blog, allow me to introduce you to Dr. Scharf, who is a licensed Periodontist in Long Island who desires to educate his readers about dental issues especially as they apply to overall general health. With that intention in mind, we recently began an article series on the relationship between diabetes and periodontal disease. In the earlier segments of this series, we discussed what diabetes isn’t and shared that diabetes is basically not a condition or potential condition which should be “blown off” but instead should be taken seriously. In our last segment, we continued the topic with a discussion of what diabetes is in an attempt to help you understand why it should be taken seriously. Also, in the last segment, we talked about two of the four types of diabetes Diabetes 1 and Diabetes 2, and today, our intention is to talk briefly about the other two, less publicised types of diabetes, gestational diabetes and prediabetes. So, away we go!
Gestational diabetes is a type which, just as the name suggests, develops during gestation or pregnancy. This type of diabetes can occur during any pregnancy in any female and it basically affects the way the mother’s cells use sugar or glucose. It can affect both the pregnancy itself as well as the health of the baby. But, the good news is that, generally speaking, blood sugar levels return to pre-pregnancy levels fairly quickly after the birth of the baby. It does, however, provide a warning sign of the increased potential of the mother to develop type 2 diabetes in the future. There are steps which can be taken to adjust the dietary and exercise habits during the pregnancy to help control the blood sugars and extra care should be taken to continue to apply appropriate eating and exercise habits lifelong to avoid the development of type 2 diabetes later in life.
This type of diabetes is arguably a “pre” state as opposed to “full fledged” stage of the disease. But make no mistake, this is a step toward the full fledged disease and needs to be taken quite seriously. Just because your hemoglobin A1c (the blood test which reveals the stability of the blood sugar over about a 3-month period of time) remains below the current “official” threshold of being actually being diagnosed with diabetes, doesn’t mean that you’re safe! This prediabetic stage should be viewed as a warning sign that things inside your body aren’t working correctly and changes need to be made immediately. This prediabetic stage can be very short-lived (weeks or months) or it can exist for years — it all depends on what steps are taken to get control over the blood sugar situation and how faithfully those steps are followed. It all depends on how seriously the host takes the diagnosed health situation. It is for this reason that many medical practitioners will begin oral medications sooner than what was done in the past. Getting a handle on the behaviors of the patient and the blood sugar is vital to avoidance of the next step into the the “big D” zone, which is a place from which many, many people never return.
In our next segment, we’ll talk about what periodontal disease is and how it can influence your overall health situation. In the meantime, Dr. Scharf wants to be your Periodontist in Long Island, and in the role, he can help to identify and treat gum disease in any of its stages in you and your family. Call him at (631)661-6633 or visit him on the web at https://drscharf.com and let him tell you how he can treat gum disease with a laser instead of a scalpel.