Let’s discuss What Diabetes Is:
Your body produces insulin from the foods you eat, if the body does not produce enough insulin or your cells do not respond correctly to the insulin it produced, you get high blood sugar called hyperglycemia. Insulin is a hormone made by the pancreas which is located near your stomach. The amount of sugar, also called glucose, in your body is controlled by the pancreas this is where you get your energy from for all your daily activities.
If you have high blood sugar or hyperglycemia can have dire consequences such as increased thirst, increased urination, and excessive hunger.
What is the main cause of diabetes?
In pre-diabetes — which can lead to type 2 diabetes — and in type 2 diabetes, your cells become resistant to the action of insulin, and your pancreas is unable to make enough insulin to overcome this resistance. Instead of moving into your cells where it’s needed for energy, sugar builds up in your bloodstream.
Types of Diabetes
Mostly found in children and young adults, the body makes very little to no insulin and the child has to be on medication full time, along with a balanced diet and exercise. Blood testing should be done regularly.
Type 2 Diabetes
As we age we become prone to acquire the disease Type 2 Diabetes, studies show that 90% of people who have diabetes have Type 2. Young adults and children are now becoming increasingly more common to have type 2 Diabetes.
With type 2 diabetes the body produces too little insulin or your bodies cell become resistant to the insulin it does produce, so it does not do the job as well.
A treatment plan works best if the whole family gets involved; it means a change for everybody to a healthier lifestyle, rather than interventions that target the individual only.
A balanced diet is a major player in controlling insulin levels along with physical activity, managing stress levels, controlling blood pressure and testing your blood regularly.
It is neither fair nor reasonable that a person with type 2 diabetes, who was never active, ate a lot of junk food to now suddenly change his ways on his own. If the rest of the family carries on doing their usually thing without considering that one individual person in need of a lifestyle change it will never happen. That is why it must become a whole family lifestyle change from cooking, to physical activity, which can be fun when the whole family joins in.
If the blood glucose is allowed to remain high, usually greater than 180 mg/dl over ten years or more, the patient with diabetes may develop one or all of the following complications:
- Eye disease which may lead to blindness
- Kidney disease which may lead to kidney failure
- Nerve disease which may lead to loss of sensation in parts of the body, especially the feet, or to loss of movement in one or more muscles.
- Heart and blood vessel disease which may lead to a heart attack, a stroke or loss of blood supply to the legs and feet.
Also known as gestational diabetes mellitus (GDM), is high blood glucose that occurs in pregnant women when the body produces large amounts of hormones to help the baby grow. These hormones cause insulin resistance and if not treated can cause problems for both mom and baby. These women have never had diabetes before and it usually shows up around the 3rd trimester of the pregnancy. Dietary changes and exercise usually control this type of diabetes but sometimes medications are needed.
If your blood sugar levels are too high, too much glucose will end up in your baby’s blood causing the baby’s pancreas to produce more insulin to process the extra glucose. This process can cause your baby to put on extra weight, particularly in the upper body. This can therefore cause birthing problems for the mother and baby called “macrosomia”.
A macrosomic baby may be too large to enter the birth canal or his shoulders can get stuck, called dystocia, and your doctor will have to perform special maneuvers to deliver the baby.
To avoid these problems your diet must have the correct balance of protein, fats, and carbohydrates, while providing the proper vitamin, minerals and calories. As is for all diabetes, it’s particularly important not to skip meals, especially breakfast and you must avoid sugar. No more cakes, cookies, candies, soda’s and knowledge of what carbohydrates turn to sugar when digested.
Risks To Mom With Gestational Diabetes:
- Urinary tract infections caused by bacteria growth when blood glucose is too high.
- Caesarean Section when baby’s upper body is too large for a normal birth.
- Pre-eclampsia protein in the urine resulting in high blood pressure, swollen face, hands, and feet with a large weight gain.
- Polyhydramnios which means too much amniotic fluid causing the baby to be born too early.
- Type 2 Diabetes can be a problem later in life.
Risks To Baby Include:
- Macrosomia a larger than normal baby due to extra insulin causing the baby to grow bigger and fatter than normal.
- Hypoglycemia or low blood glucose caused from the extra insulin and glucose causes the baby’s blood glucose to drop too low, putting the baby at risk for complications of hypoglycemia.
- Jaundice of the newborn’s skin and eyes causing them to yellow from too much bilirubin waste in the blood being broken down from the liver of extra red blood cells created by the baby before delivery.
As you can see it is very important that you get regular medical checkups during your pregnancy to avoid these kinds of problems for both yourself and your baby.
Eating a balanced diet, being physically active, managing stress, controlling blood pressure and possibly taking insulin along with testing blood sugar levels regularly will keep your Gestational Diabetes under control.