Diabetes and How It Can Affect Your Pregnancy
According to the CDC, nearly 10% of the U.S. population is estimated to be living with diabetes or prediabetes, which are diseases that cause irregular blood sugar levels in an individual’s body.
Blood sugar, medically known as glucose, is an essential component that provides energy to the body’s cells, which help vital organs and tissues to function. Failure to manage these glucose levels can result in a number of serious health conditions.
As the name suggests, a person with prediabetes shows signs that are similar to diabetes, but are not quite enough to constitute a full-fledged case of diabetes. Those with prediabetes have blood sugar levels that are higher than normal, which are likely to continue rising until the person is officially diagnosed with type 2 diabetes.
Fortunately, with early intervention during the prediabetic stage, individuals can actually eliminate their risk for diabetes, or at the very least they will be able to delay the development of it. The best way to achieve such results is to reduce fat and sugar intake while also being physically active for at least 30 minutes each day. Reducing your weight by 5-10% is a common goal for prediabetics to achieve in order to help improve the way in which their bodies are able to create and use insulin.
Type 1 Diabetes
This particular kind of diabetes is particularly common among young adults and children, though it can affect persons of any age. Type 1 diabetes is caused by a malfunction of the pancreas when it is no longer able to produce insulin, or cannot produce enough insulin to maintain proper blood sugar levels in the body.
There is no way to prevent type 1 diabetes. Even those who eat healthily and maintain an active lifestyle can succumb to this autoimmune reaction. Once diagnosed, these individuals must manage the condition carefully throughout the rest of their lives with the help of their healthcare team.
Type 2 Diabetes
Only about 5% of all diabetics have type 1 diabetes, the rest fall into the much larger category of type 2 diabetes. With this particular disease, the pancreas will first attempt to flood the body with extra insulin in order to balance out its blood glucose levels. Your cells will then begin to become desensitized to these high levels of insulin, and will become resistant towards this hormone.
If corrections are not made during the early stage (prediabetes), then the pancreas will be unable to continually increase its insulin production, and type 2 diabetes will eventually develop.
Another form of diabetes that can be corrected if treated early on is known as gestational diabetes. This specific disease occurs during the gestational period, or when a woman is pregnant.
Similar to type 2 diabetes, gestational diabetes occurs when the pancreas overloads the body with insulin, which leads the cells of the woman’s body to become resistant toward it. The pancreas creates this excess insulin in response to new hormones within the body that are produced to sustain the pregnancy.
It is entirely possible to control gestational diabetes, and most cases will resolve themselves after the child is born, though patients need to carefully monitor their condition in tandem with their obstetrician in order to limit their risk for potential complications such as:
- Premature birth
- Excessive weight gain of the baby prior to birth
- Respiratory problems for the baby after birth
Symptoms of Diabetes
All forms of diabetes will present signs and symptoms that are similar to one another. Such symptoms include:
- Extreme tiredness
- Unexplained weight loss or gain
- Increased urge to urinate
- Frequent infections and/or slow-healing wounds
- Increased thirst
- Changes in appetite
- Blurred vision
It is also entirely possible, especially for prediabetics and those with type 1 diabetes, to not present any noticeable symptoms at all. Eventually the disease will progress to a point where more severe symptoms begin to appear, but the best solution for individuals and their health is to treat their condition as soon as they notice any abnormalities.
Our obstetricians are able to diagnose diabetes using a simple blood test, which means that there is no reason to delay in contacting an office nearest you for an appointment if you suspect that you may be exhibiting symptoms of diabetes.