At risk for GD? Here’s how to have a healthier pregnancy

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You’d be surprised who’s contended with gestational diabetes -- a type of diabetes that usually appears around weeks 24 to 28 of pregnancy, although it can come on earlier: Salma Hayek developed it in 2007, Angelina Jolie in 2008 and Mariah Carey in 2011.

The rise in blood-sugar levels that signals GD, along with the increased predisposition it causes for preeclampsia (high blood pressure and excess protein in your urine during the second half of pregnancy), puts mother, fetus and child at risk.

With GD, you may give birth prematurely, have a miscarriage or a stillborn baby. GD can also cause the fetus to gain excess weight, your newborn can have breathing problems and low blood sugar, and as a growing child, obesity and Type 2 diabetes are more likely.

According to a study in the European Journal of Nutrition, each tick up on the Inflammatory Dietary Index is associated with a 27% higher risk of gestational diabetes. That’s why pregnant women (whether overweight or not) need to lower their intake of inflammatory foods -- especially simple sugars, added syrups, refined carbs, red and processed meats, ultraprocessed and fried foods, and trans and saturated fats. That can dramatically lower the risk of GD -- and associated complications.

So, from the first moment you know (or suspect) you’re pregnant, make sure your diet is full of fresh vegetables, fruits and 100% whole grains. That will make the next nine months -- and years to come -- as healthy and happy as possible for all involved!

Unmasking mask mistakes

The mask that covers the facial deformities on Erik, the Phantom of the Opera, have ranged from Lon Chaney’s 1925 total-face covering (including a strange fabric flap over his mouth) to Claude Rains’ 1943 blue-white covering over three-quarters of his face and Andrew Lloyd Weber’s version, in which Erik wore a white half mask.

The changes in anti-COVID-19 masks have been just as wide-ranging. But it seems settled now that N95 and KN95 masks are the most effective in protecting you -- and others -- from infection. Problem is that some are counterfeit and offer no more than a 20% screen from COVID-19 viruses. That’s the finding of the U.S. National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health. They test masks to make sure the comply with filtration rate standards. In a recent test, more than 6% didn’t pass NIOSH inspection. So ...

To be sure masks are effective, check for the TC number on N95 masks. The marking will say TC -- followed by three numbers and then two numbers and a lot number. The authentic N95s also have a double head strap. KN95 masks should be marked with GB 2626-2019 then a space and then KN95. If they don’t have that printed on the face of the mask, it is not made to conform to the standard for filtration and protection.

So stay safe. COVID-19 vaccines, booster shots, social distancing, hand washing and reliable N95 and KN95 masks are your ticket to a happy new year.

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