Today majority of people in the world are affected by diabetes. Diabetes can strike anyone and at any age. In the past ten years the number of people having diabetes have increased by 50%. About 380 million people worldwide are affected by diabetes every year. In america alone diabetes claims the life of 1 out of 3 americans. Diabetes claims more lives as compared to AIDS and cancer. This is because diabetes is a leading cause of Kidney disease, heart failure, amputations and stroke. Diabetes also has a lot of negative impact during pregnancy. We will be discussing these impacts in this post Diabetes and pregnancy.
What is diabetes ?
When we eat our body converts food into sugars, glucose and fats. In Order to allow our body to utilize these sugars and glucose for energy purpose, the pancreas produce insulin. The insulin help our body cells to open up and help them convert the sugars and glucose into energy.
Insulin serves as a key factor in allowing our body cells to open up and utilizing glucose for energy. But, in diabetes this mechanism does not work. Lot of factors are responsible for the pancreas going week and the onset of diabetes.
Types of diabetes
There are three main types of diabetes
- Type 1 diabetes
- Type 2 diabetes
- Gestational diabetes
Type 1 diabetes
Type 1 diabetes is caused by autoimmune disorder and is considered to be more dangerous and severe form of diabetes. It is also called juvenile diabetes because it occurs more frequently in children and teenagers.
In this form of diabetes the body’s immune system sees the insulin producing cells in the pancreas as foreign elements and attack a part of its own pancreas. The insulin producing cells are called islets (Eye-lets).
In the absence of insulin producing cells in pancreas, the body cells will not be able to open up and gain glucose for energy. As a result of which the glucose levels in the blood and urine keep on increasing and the body cells starve to death due to lack of glucose. This is the main cause of kidney failure, damage in eyesight, and many other complications.
Type 2 diabetes
In this kind of diabetes, the pancreas is able to produce some insulin. But, usually this is not enough. The insulin tries to act as a key factor to open up body cells, but this key does not work as the insulin is not enough. This type of diabetes usually occurs in adults.
It is more frequent with people having sedentary lifestyle and are obese.
Diabetes and pregnancy
If you have diabetes and are planning to expand your family, then you should strictly keep your sugar levels near to normal range. Also, if you have diabetes and are pregnant, then you should immediately talk to your physician and gynec and get your sugar levels checked. A high blood sugar level causes serious damage to the developing fetus during the early weeks of pregnancy. When you get your blood sugar checked, the blood sugar level range may vary when you are pregnant.
How to prepare for pregnancy if you have diabetes ?
If you have diabetes and are planning to get pregnant, then you should keep your blood glucose levels near to normal. Keep a check on your sugar levels and get it tested frequently. Talk with your doctor so that he or she can keep a tab on fetal monitoring and development. You should also strictly follow your exercise and diabetes meal plan.
How can diabetes affect the developing fetus ?
A baby’s vital organs like brain, heart, kidney and lungs start forming at an early stage of 8 weeks. A high blood glucose level cause defect in the development of these organs. As a result of which, the baby is born with major birth defects.
The baby might also be born premature, weigh too much or have low glucose levels. High glucose levels also lead to miscarriage or a stillborn baby.
How does diabetes affect the mother during pregnancy ?
During pregnancy there are a lot of hormonal changes going on in the mother’s body. These hormonal changes also lead to changes in blood glucose level. Depending on these, you may need to change your meal plan, exercise plan and medications. You may also need to switch to insulin injections, if you are taking oral medicines.
Health problems that are caused during pregnancy due to diabetes ?
Pregnancy worsens the diabetes symptoms like kidney problems and problems in the eye sight. You have higher chances of developing preeclampsia. Preeclampsia can cause life threatening problems for the mother and for the child. There is increase in blood pressure in preeclampsia and increased amount of protein in urine.
So. if you have diabetes and are pregnant, then you should manage your blood glucose levels really well and strictly follow the doctor’s advice to have a happy pregnancy.