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Independence Day Special: Meet The Bhishma Pitamah Of Pregnancy Diabetes

The Government of India declared the birthday of Dr V Seshiah, March 10, as National Gestational Diabetes Mellitus Awareness Day

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New Delhi: Born and brought up in Chennai, Dr Veeraswamy Seshiah is India’s first diabetic pathologist who introduced the ‘Single Test Procedure’ to diagnose Gestational Diabetes Mellitus (GDM). The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention defines gestational diabetes as a type of diabetes that can develop during pregnancy in women who don’t already have diabetes. It occurs when your body can’t make enough insulin during your pregnancy. GDM poses a higher risk for babies dying in the womb in the 28th week of pregnancy or after (stillbirth).

Dr V Seshiah firmly believes in the popular saying “prevention is better than cure” and practising the same, he developed the ‘Single Test Procedure’ for pregnant women to check for diabetes.

Talking to NDTV on the season finale of the longest-running public health campaign ‘Banega Swasth India’, Dr Seshiah shared the findings of his research. He said,

We found out the causes of bad obstetric that is fetal wastage and diabetes came up as the important reason behind it.

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Dr Seshiah believes that globally, diabetes has transitioned from being an epidemic to a pandemic. In fact, India is known as the “diabetes capital of the world”. To control this and prevent diabetes, Dr Seshiah recommends primordial prevention of diabetes. He said,

After marriage, women must consult an obstetrician and follow the expert’s advice on the precautions required and pre-conception care. It’s important for women to check glucose levels before conceiving and also keep a check on blood sugar levels post-conception. The first 10 weeks of pregnancy are crucial. If the blood sugar levels of a mother increase, it will affect the foetus. Therefore, check for blood glucose levels on the 10th week.

If a mother develops Gestational Diabetes Mellitus, a child is bound to be diabetic. Hence, it is crucial to keep a check on the mother’s health, says Dr Seshiah.

Dr Seshiah is currently working as the Chairman and Senior Consultant Diabetologist at Dr. V Seshiah Diabetes Research Institute in Chennai. For his contribution in the field of Medicine, Dr Seshiah was honoured with Padma Shri in 2022.

The Government of India had also declared the birthday of Dr Seshiah, March 10, as National Gestational Diabetes Mellitus Awareness Day.

While signing off, Dr Seshiah who is also known as the Bhishma Pitamah of pregnancy diabetes, called on the need to “focus on the foetus for the future”.

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NDTV – Dettol have been working towards a clean and healthy India since 2014 via the Banega Swachh India initiative, which is helmed by Campaign Ambassador Amitabh Bachchan. The campaign aims to highlight the inter-dependency of humans and the environment, and of humans on one another with the focus on One Health, One Planet, One Future – Leaving No One Behind. It stresses on the need to take care of, and consider, everyone’s health in India – especially vulnerable communities – the LGBTQ populationindigenous people, India’s different tribes, ethnic and linguistic minorities, people with disabilities, migrants, geographically remote populations, gender and sexual minorities. In wake of the current COVID-19 pandemic, the need for WASH (WaterSanitation and Hygiene) is reaffirmed as handwashing is one of the ways to prevent Coronavirus infection and other diseases. The campaign will continue to raise awareness on the same along with focussing on the importance of nutrition and healthcare for women and children, fight malnutrition, mental wellbeing, self care, science and health, adolescent health & gender awareness. Along with the health of people, the campaign has realised the need to also take care of the health of the eco-system. Our environment is fragile due to human activity, which is not only over-exploiting available resources, but also generating immense pollution as a result of using and extracting those resources. The imbalance has also led to immense biodiversity loss that has caused one of the biggest threats to human survival – climate change. It has now been described as a “code red for humanity.” The campaign will continue to cover issues like air pollutionwaste managementplastic banmanual scavenging and sanitation workers and menstrual hygiene. Banega Swasth India will also be taking forward the dream of Swasth Bharat, the campaign feels that only a Swachh or clean India where toiletsare used and open defecation free (ODF)status achieved as part of the Swachh Bharat Abhiyan launched by Prime Minister Narendra Modi in 2014, can eradicate diseases like diahorrea and the country can become a Swasth or healthy India.

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