Gestational Diabetes Testing & BP Symptoms
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Q:  Gestational Diabetes Testing & BP Symptoms

Dr. Phelps, I have suffered from bipolor disorder for over ten years and am now 21 and expecting my first baby in February. Things have been very tense at home and i am, in fact, sepirated from my boyfriend as we try to work though some things related to my PBD and his depression. I've had an eppisode recently and now my doctor says he wants to give me a glucose test to screen for Gestational Diabites. I believe it's simply routine at this public hospital because of the large numbers of young mothers and high risk patients even though it only developes in 3 percent of all pregnancies. The doctors i've seen have said nothing to suggest that i may have tis problem except that my baby seems a bit large. I am afraid that the large dose of sugar may trigger annoter eppisode, something that could be quite dangerouse right now. Would you reccomend i refuse the test?

Dear Lauren --
That's an interesting thought, the idea that a big bunch of sugar could trigger symptoms. We certainly have become much more aware of blood glucose lately, but more because several medications we use for bipolar disorder can cause increased blood sugar levels. It's not routine to worry about big doses of sugar triggering symptoms. For example, we routinely warn not to use alcohol, but I haven't heard people warning about milk shakes! The sugar dose you'd get from this test is rather like the milk shake. So unless you've seen obvious symptoms triggered by milk shakes and the like, in the past, it would seem that this test does not pose much risk.

However, everyone is different. You may have figured out something here, at least in your case. You could ask the doctor if there's any other way to look for gestational diabetes, and explain your concern. I would imagine everybody's "concern level" is pretty high right now for many different reasons, including how to treat your bipolar disorder during this pregnancy and afterward. So it might feel like people are having a hard time responding to your concern about the sugar dose one time for this test. Good luck to you.

Dr. Phelps

Published December, 2003


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