Type 1 And Type 2 Diabetes

March 4, 2009

The Life Of A Diabetic

Life for a diabetic can be challenging. Just keeping up with insulin levels, taking care to eat the right foods, getting enough exercise and still living a quasi-normal life all play into the equation. When a diabetic woman wants to become pregnant, her reality takes on yet another dimension.

At one time doctors discouraged women with diabetes from becoming pregnant but with all of the new advances in the use of insulin and diet management, a healthy pregnancy for a diabetic woman is no longer a dream. It can be a reality by planning carefully and then working the plan to the letter. The most important part is the control of blood sugar and for the woman with pre-existing diabetes, tight control of blood sugar is critical for several months prior to conception as well as all the way through the pregnancy.

Diabetes Types And How They Differ

Diabetes is a condition in which the pancreas either does not produce enough insulin or is unable to utilize the insulin it produces to convert sugar and starches from food into energy. The result is a glut of sugar in the blood and additional overflow of sugar in the urine. Organ damage due to high blood sugar can leave a person blind, cause kidney failure and heart disease. Diabetic people can go into a diabetic coma if their blood sugar is too high. Conversely, they can also suffer from low blood sugar which in itself can be fatal.

Diabetes is categorized under three major headings: Type 1, Type 2 and Gestational. Type 1 diabetics rely on insulin shots because their pancreas does not produce enough insulin to use blood sugar for energy. Type 2 diabetics, while having the same condition as Type 1, can usually control their diabetes with proper diet and adequate exercise. They may have to take pills or insulin shots, or both. Gestational diabetes appears in women who did not have diabetes before they became pregnant. It can often be controlled with diet and exercise, although sometimes they may need insulin. It occurs later in pregnancy where Types 1 and 2 are present prior to pregnancy.

Effects Of Uncontrolled Diabetes On Pregnancy: Mother And Baby

The effects of uncontrolled Types 1 and 2 diabetes before and during pregnancy can be devastating. In both cases, it can produce birth defects in the baby and either cause or worsen existing problems in the mother. A diabetic woman may miscarry her pregnancy or the baby may be stillborn. Early delivery, also a concern, means low birth weight and the associated difficulties infants struggle with in such cases.

Because the organs of a baby form very early in the pregnancy, often before a diabetic knows she's pregnant, there can be damage to the organs, spine, brain or heart if the mother's blood sugar is out of control. Also, extra large babies are often the result of uncontrolled diabetes. This fact alone carries with it dangers for both mother and baby.

With proper monitoring of blood sugar, healthy diet and exercise as well as use of insulin as needed, a diabetic woman can have a relatively normal pregnancy and protect both herself and her unborn child.

 

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