HEALTHIER YOU: When sugar is not so sweet
BY DR. ANNETTE MAYES
There are many health issues that women should be aware of every day of the year, but I want to put particular emphasis on diabetes as we acknowledge Mother’s Day — which, on May 10, also marks the start of National Women’s Health Awareness Month.
Diabetes can affect women during their childbearing years. Diabetes is a disease in which blood glucose (blood sugar) levels are above normal.
Most of the food we eat is turned into glucose, or sugar, for our bodies to use for energy. The pancreas, an organ that lies near the stomach, makes a hormone called insulin to help glucose get into the cells of the our bodies.
When you have diabetes, your body either doesn’t make enough insulin, or can’t use its own insulin as well as it should.
Having diabetes during pregnancy can impact the health of both the mother and her unborn baby. If a woman has poor control of her diabetes during pregnancy, this increases the chances for problems for her baby — such as growing too large, which may lead to complications during delivery. It also can cause serious complications for the woman.
Working to keep blood sugar in the normal range, before and during pregnancy, can help prevent these problems.
Beyond gestational diabetes, which develops during pregnancy, there are two other types:
Type 1: The pancreas makes little or no insulin, so the body can’t use blood sugar for energy.
Type 2: The body either makes too little insulin or the insulin that is made is unable to help cells use blood sugar for energy.
Some of the possible problems for the baby from blood sugar that is not controlled in a pregnant woman with type 1 or type 2 diabetes include:
- Birth defects
- Stillbirth or miscarriage
- Very high or very low birth weight
- Injury during birth if the baby is very large
- Low blood sugar after birth
- Yellow skin and eyes (jaundice) during the first 28 days of life
- Potential metabolic disorders (problems converting food into energy; i.e., diabetes) later in life
For additional information regarding diabetes and pregnancy, contact the Las Vegas All Women’s Care Offices at (702) 522-9640. Or visit us at 700 Shadow Lane No. 165 (1st floor) in Las Vegas.