Sunday, June 15, 2014

Gestational Diabetes: Do You Know What it is?

What is gestational diabetes?

We've been discussing Diabetes for several weeks now. We've reviewed what it is and how it effects adults as well as children. I'd like to discuss today how it effects pregnancy and especially your baby. 

If your blood sugar level first becomes too high when you are pregnant, you have gestational diabetes. It will usually go back to normal after the baby is born.

Having high blood sugar while pregnant can cause problems for you and your baby. Your baby could grow too large, which can make for a difficult delivery. This can cause your baby to have low blood sugar. Most women who have gestational diabetes are able to control their blood sugar and give birth to a healthy baby.


When women have had gestational diabetes they are at a higher risk than other women to develop type 2 diabetes. You may be able to prevent or reduce the degree of type 2 diabetes by staying at a healthy weight, eating healthy foods, and exercising.

What causes gestational diabetes?

As you know by now, the insulin helps your body use and store the sugar from the food you eat. This will keep your sugar level in a target range. When you are pregnant, the placenta makes hormones and can make it harder for insulin to work. As we reviewed previously this is called insulin resistance. While pregnant when the pancreas doesn't produce enough insulin, the sugar levels fall out of the target range. 


Should you be tested gestational diabetes?

The American Diabetes Association recommends that all women who have not already been diagnosed with diabetes be tested for gestational diabetes between the 24th and 28th weeks of pregnancy. The test used is the oral glucose tolerance test.

What are the symptoms?

It is important while pregnant that you get tested for gestational diabetes because this type of Diabetes may not cause symptoms. Often women are surprised when the test shows that they do have a high blood sugar level. This however could mean that you could have had another type of Diabetes that hasn't been diagnosed. Remember that gestational diabetes can cause problems for both you and your baby. Some of the symptoms of other types of Diabetes are as follows: You're thirsty and urinate more often, your appetite has increased and you can have blurred vision. 


Of course when you're pregnant you tend to urinate and feel hungry more often. So these symptoms don't always mean that you have diabetes. Talk with your doctor so that you can be tested for diabetes during pregnancy.


How is it treated?



Women with gestational diabetes can control their blood sugar level just like anyone diagnosed with Diabetes. As you know changing your eating habits and by exercising regularly. These healthy choices can also help prevent future incidents of gestational diabetes in future pregnancies. Making these life choices can also prevent type 2 diabetes later in your life.




Treatment for gestational diabetes also includes checking your blood sugar level and seeing your doctor regularly. You may need to take insulin injections to control your blood sugar. Keep in mind that the insulin will be added to the insulin your body natural makes as well. The most common medication for Diabetes used today is glyburide and metformin used for type 2 diabetes. Some doctors are using these 2 medications to treat women who have gestational diabetes. As always I recommend that you talk to your doctor. He/She will be able to discuss your options and treatment.

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Saturday, June 7, 2014

Mom's with Diabetic Children: What You Should Know!

 

Hey Mom's, Let's Take a Look at Some Facts!

Amazing but true that not that long ago, it was unusual to hear about a child with Type 2 Diabetes. If a child had Diabetes, it was thought to be Type 1. That is no longer true according to the Center of Disease Control(CDC). Statistics show that more than 186,000 people younger than age 20 have diabetes both Type 1 and Type 2 Diabetes! How can you prevent this risk to your child's health? What can you do if your child is diagnosed with type 2 diabetes?



What You Should Know about Type 2 Diabetes

Today, as promised I would like to discuss Diabetes in children. We've reviewed previously how Diabetes develops when the pancreas stops making the insulin hormone. For Mom's with Diabetic children you play an important role in your child controlling his or her diabetes. It can be stressful for a child to learn how to manage their diabetes. Your child can live a long and healthy life if they learn to master controlling their diabetes. You will need to allow your child to do as much of the care as possible. Of course, even though your encouraging your child to take charge of this disease, you want to always give your child support and guidance.


Your child needs to understand that managing diabetes is keeping blood sugar levels in a specific range. There are several ways to keep diabetes "in check" in order to accomplish control over this disease. Your child will need to have insulin, watch what they eat (carbohydrate intake) and exercise. Another tool used to manage your child's blood sugar level is a glucometer. The glucometer is a must and should be part of your child's daily routine.


It is important for you to know that the longer he or she has Diabetes the higher the risk for problems with eye disease, heart, blood vessels, nerves and their kidneys. Children don't have these other problems usually in childhood however if your child doesn't control Diabetes, it can lend to problems later on in their life. Therefore, they need to start early so they can prevent these other issues associated with Diabetes from developing. They will have to always manage their Diabetes in order to live a long and healthy life.


What Is Type 2 Diabetes?

We've previously discussed Type 2 Diabetes in an adult but there is a difference in that the cells in a child's body are resistant to the effects of insulin therefore, glucose will build up in their bloodstream. This can lead to dangerous levels of glucose in their body. Especially over time, it will cause the body to become less able to handle all of that glucose in the bloodstream. When these high levels occur they cause other complications like blindness, kidney failure and heart disease.

What Are the Risk Factors for Type 2 Diabetes in Children?

It is so important for Mom's to know what the risk factors are for their children with Type 2 diabetes and how it can effect them as well. Mom's can help control this disease by creating an overall healthy diet and good eating habits. Children at high risk for Diabetes are those that are overweight. Other factors are as follows: Family history, females, and specific ethnic groups such as American Indian, African-American, Asian, or Hispanic/Latino. Most children are diagnosed with Diabetes at the beginning of puberty. During puberty a developmental stage, the insulin resistance is higher.


What is the greatest risk factor for Type 2 Diabetes in Children? 

I bet you can guess which factor listed above is the single greatest risk factor for type 2 diabetes in children none other than excess weight. In the U.S., almost one out of every five children is considered to be overweight. When your child is overweight, they increase their chances greatly of developing Diabetes. One in five! The statistics are astounding in the number of children that have this disease. Hey, wake up a big contributor is what we eat. Give your child an upper hand in beating their odds of developing Diabetes with a healthy diet. Contributing factors that lead to excess weight are unhealthy eating patterns, Lack of physical activity, inherited trait, a hormone problem or other medical condition. We can make a difference in prevention by eating healthy and setting a good example. Just like adults, Type 2 Diabetes in children has been linked to excess abdominal weight. This is an obesity pattern that increases the chance of insulin resistance and risk of Type 2 Diabetes.


Do You Know What the Symptoms of Type 2 Diabetes in Children Are?

The symptoms develop slowly so their hard to notice in your child. You may not notice any of the symptoms until you eventually notice one or more of the following symptoms: Unexplained weight loss, they're eating like a lion even after eating and always thirsty. They can have dry mouth and urinate more often, they tend to be very tired and can have blurred vision. Does your child heal slowly in that it takes forever for him/her to heal from minor sores or cuts, have itchy skin, numbness or tingling of the hands or feet? These symptoms are very common in Diabetic children. If you see these symptoms in your child it would just be a good idea to take your child to their regular Pediatrician or Family Doctor.


Now that we've covered a little about the big D word, let's chat about our next interesting health topic. Get ready this Wednesday, June 11th for a gastrointestinal illness! I'm keeping it a secret you'll have to visit to read about it. Subscribe and get great health information, tips and products delivered to your inbox. Share with your friends and family too.

Sunday, June 1, 2014

Diabetes: Type 2 Diabetes and You



Diabetes Part 2: What is Type 2 Diabetes?
Hey, thanks for coming back for Type 2 diabetes! As promised we will take a look at Type 2 Diabetes, it's causes, who is at risk and the role of insulin in this type of Diabetes. This type of Diabetes is known as the non-insulin-dependent diabetes. It is the most common form of diabetes and affects up to 95% of the 26 million Americans that have diabetes. Can you imagine that 26 millions Americans are afflicted with this disease. Sounds like we need to find a cure! Diabetes is a very expensive disease for the Americans afflicted and insurance companies. To find a cure it is equally if not more expensive as well. 

Do You Know What Type 2 Diabetes is?
Since we looked at Type 1 Diabetes in part 1, you will easily understand what Type 2 is because it's the opposite in that insulin is produced. There is either a problem with the pancreas not making enough insulin or the body cannot use the insulin as it should. This is called insulin resistance. Whenever there isn't enough insulin or the insulin produced isn't used as it should be, glucose (sugar) can't get into the body's cells. Therefore, the glucose builds up in the blood instead of going into cells. Now that just means the body's cells are not able to function properly. There are other problems related to the buildup of glucose in the blood which includes:

Body Damage: Again as in Type 1 the body is damaged overtime, the high glucose levels in the blood can damage the nerves, small blood vessels of eyes, kidneys, and the heart which lead to atherosclerosis, or hardening of the arteries which has been a cause of heart attacks and strokes.


Dehydration: As it seems dehydration is one problem that occurs in both types. We already know that the buildup of sugar in the blood can cause us to urinate more often. The loss of fluids in the body is what causes the dehydration.
Diabetic Coma: When someone with Type 2 becomes very ill from the disease, they become severely dehydrated. It's difficult to replace the fluids lost and can develop this life-threatening complication.

Take the Diabetes Quiz!

Who Gets Type 2 Diabetes?

Anyone can get type 2 diabetes. However those at highest risk for the disease are those who are over 45, obese or overweight, have had gestational diabetes, family history of the disease, don't  exercise, have low HDL cholesterol or high triglycerides, high blood pressure and are of certain racial or ethnic groups. 

What Causes Type 2 Diabetes?


Type 2 Diabetes is the most common of the 2 types of diabetes and is least understood. It is believed to be caused by many things. It has been found to run in families, but it's not understood how it's inherited. Diabetes is a number of diseases that involve problems with the hormone insulin. Two of the most common causes of this form of diabetes is obesity and lack of exercise. According to the CDC these 2 causes account for almost 95% of diabetes cases in the United States. It doesn't really surprise me because I think as a country we don't focus enough on what & how much we eat! 

Take the Quiz: Are You Controlling Your Diabetes?

Diabetes happens when one of the following occurs when the pancreas doesn't produce or enough insulin. When the body doesn't respond or utilizes the insulin properly, this condition is called "insulin resistant". Again as in Type 1, our body won't function properly when the cells aren't getting the glucose they need. The glucose is just building up in the bloodstream.

What is the Importance of Insulin in the Cause of Type 2 Diabetes?

We discussed the role of the insulin hormone in Type 1 Diabetes. We will revisit the importance of insulin. The insulin has to be transported into the millions of cells in the body and convert the insulin to energy. Our body also uses the food we eat for energy as well. When we eat or drink, most of the food is broken down into a simple form of sugar called "glucose." Glucose is transported through the bloodstream to these cells where it can be used to provide the energy the body needs to function.



The insulin and other hormones keep a tight watch on the glucose in the bloodstream. Amazing but when the glucose gets to a certain level in our bloodstream, the pancreas wakes up to release more insulin so that more can be transported into the cells. This will in turn cause the glucose in the bloodstream to drop. In order for the glucose levels to stay at a certain level and not drop too low, the body will send a signal for us to eat. Glucose is also released from the Liver which stores some glucose.To keep blood glucose levels from getting too low (hypoglycemia), the body signals you to eat and releases some glucose from the stores kept in the liver; it also signals the body to lower the amount of insulin being released.

Diabetes is having a blood glucose level of greater than or equal to 126 milligrams per deciliter after not eating anything overnight (fasting), or by having a non-fasting glucose level greater than or equal to 200 milligrams per deciliter along with symptoms of diabetes, tolerance test, or an A1C greater than or equal to 6.5%. In order to have a diagnosis of Diabetes you must have met at least two of these test criteria, or by repeating one of the tests on a different day.



For more information about Type 2 Diabetes check out the article here! Hey, come by again on Saturday, June 7th for a look at what Moms of Type 2 Diabetes children should know. Find out about the symptoms, diagnosis, and the treatment available for Type 2 Diabetes in childhood. Get self-care tips for prevention which is extremely important when taking control of this disease that strikes so many people of all ages. 


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