I wanted to make a post dedicated to type one diabetes. I feel like every time I tell someone I’m diabetic, they don’t quite understand it. No worries though, because before I got diabetes (about two years ago) I also had no idea what it really was. I only saw those commercials on TV and I had only known about one girl (an old friends little sister) who had diabetes but I didn’t know the difference between her diabetes and the kind they show in commercials with the old people.
Let’s start with the basics.
Type 1 diabetes (T1D) is an autoimmune disease that occurs when a person’s pancreas stops producing insulin, the hormone that controls blood-sugar levels. T1D develops when the insulin-producing pancreatic beta cells are mistakenly destroyed by the body’s immune system. The cause of this attack is still being researched, however scientists believe the cause may have genetic and environmental components. There is nothing anyone can do to prevent T1D. Presently, there is no known cure (definition provided by jdrf.org).
Type 2 diabetes, your body does not use insulin properly. This is called insulin resistance. At first, the pancreas makes extra insulin to make up for it. But, over time your pancreas isn’t able to keep up and can’t make enough insulin to keep your blood glucose levels normal. Type 2 is treated with lifestyle changes, oral medications (pills), and insulin (definition provided by diabetes.org).
So those are the differences between type one and type two. Gestational diabetes occurs during pregnancy but goes away after you’ve given birth but you are at a higher risk for getting type two diabetes. So, NO, I did not cause my diabetes. It just…happened. Unfortunately.
Symptoms of diabetes include excessive thirst, fatigue, hunger, sweating, nausea or vomiting, excessive urination, blurred vision, headache, sleepiness, weight loss, and fast heart rate. Before I was diagnosed I dealt with the excessive thirst, hunger, nausea, excessive urination, leg cramps, and weight loss. I had no idea what was going on until I google’d my symptoms and freaked out at what I was reading so I made a doctors appointment to get everything checked out. Of course they thought nothing was wrong with me until they did blood work. If you ever start to experience weird things happening to you, go to the doctor! It’s so so so important. If I hadn’t gone to the doctor I could have really done some damage to myself. There was a night I drank two sodas (excessive thirst) and ate a TON of carb filled Mexican food. Right after dinner, I didn’t feel well so I went and laid down and immediately went to sleep. Imagine if I never woke up due to high blood sugar? It’s a scary thought. I can only imagine what my blood sugar was that night.
Now I want to go over why it’s so important for me to stay on top of my diabetes during pregnancy. Sometimes I feel as if I can’t enjoy my pregnancy as much as a “normal” woman because I spend a lot of time stressing out over my blood sugars and worrying if I’m hurting my baby or not.
Some of the possible risks to the mother and baby if blood glucose levels are too high during pregnancy are:
Risks for the baby
Birth defects (not usually a risk for women with gestational diabetes)
Macrosomia (having a large baby)
Low blood glucose at birth (hypoglycemia)
Prolonged jaundice (yellowing of the skin)
Respiratory distress syndrome (difficulty breathing)
Risks for the mother:
Worsening of diabetic eye problems
Worsening of diabetic kidney problems
Infections of the urinary bladder and vaginal area
Preeclampsia (high blood pressure usually with protein in the urine)
Difficult delivery or cesarean section
(info provided by diabetes.org)
So in order for me to avoid these issues, I have to have an A1C under 6 (from what my doctor told me). Some doctors allow their patients to begin trying if they’re A1C is in the low 6’s. Basically an A1C is a number that tells doctors what your average blood sugar is. Before I got pregnant, I was able to get my A1C down to 5.1. It was really tough, but worth it. As my pregnancy progresses, I will need more insulin because my body will be more resistant. I’ve already increased my doses for meals and I will have to increase more as time goes on. It might sound easy to some but it’s hard work! And frustrating. I might have calculated everything perfectly but still end up with a blood sugar of 130 an hour or two after dinner when I expected it to be lower. Anyways, I just felt like doing this post so maybe whoever reading this can learn something new! I’ve learned so much in the past two years of being diabetic but I feel like I’m still learning each day about this disease, especially with this pregnancy. And remember, if you’re ever experiencing weird stuff happening to you or your body, don’t be afraid to seek help! 🙂