Diabetic and Trying to Get Pregnant

Updated on March 24, 2008
A.V. asks from Saint Louis, MO
25 answers

I have diabetes type 2 and PCOS (polycystic ovarian syndrome). In order to get pregnant my obgyn is putting me on Clomid to help the eggs develop because of the PCOS. I'm also diabetic, controlling it with only Byetta (an injection, not insulin). My obgyn in also taking me off my Simvastatin (cholesterol med) because of the danger to fetus.
I'm really worried though because they said (obgyn and endo) that I will have to take insulin once I get pregnant. I've never had to take insulin before and am worried I won't be able to get it right as I've heard you have to measure how much insulin you are taking to counteract the food you are about to eat.
What problems can I be facing in this upcoming pregnancy with all of my given problems? I was told this will be a high risk pregnacy, so will this damage the baby.. with all these health issues going on?
I scared and unsure... I don't want to do something wrong and hurt my baby. Or is it more likely that everything will turn out fine?
I guess I'm just looking for a few answers but mostly reassurance. This is uncharted territory for me and my husband is squeamish talking about anything to do with one's body.

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So What Happened?

Well they started me on insulin now before I get pregnant and I'm successfully keeping my blood sugar well under control. I'm not taking any other meds, just prenatal vitamins and extra calcium. I've also lost a total of 35 pounds!
They've started me on rounds of Provera and Clomid to help the cycles along. So far I've completed 1 cycle with no ovulation and am now beginning my 2nd round. I'm to do these rounds for 3 cycles and if no ovulation or pregnancy then I'll talk to the doctors again. Maybe I will ask about Femara since I've heard a lot of women using that instead of Clomid. We'll see... Wish me luck! :)

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S.N.

answers from Kansas City on

I have some nutrition related advice. Give me a call tonight ###-###-####, thanks! (I'm not selling anything.)
Naomi

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S.P.

answers from St. Louis on

Hi A.,

My sister-in-law has been a diabetic for 35 years. She had my lovely niece and she is perfectly healthy and she is going to be 20 years old. It is hard not to worry, but I remember usually babies born to diabetics can be large babies. Don't be scared take very good care of yourself and follow your doctor's directions. See there are positive outcomes!!!! Best wishes and take care!
S.

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T.W.

answers from Kansas City on

I have PCOS and am insulin resistant/ borderline type2. they had me on every med in the world while I was trying to get pregnant. Once I started IVF's they took me off everything. A friend told me about a nutritional drink called Limu that had brought her sugar levels under control. I did my research and decided to give it a go. Although I never was able to achieve implantation, I am no longer insulin resistant or at risk for diabetes. My cholesterol has dropped from a whopping 437 down to 162! Allergies are gone too. Check it out at www.discoverlimu.com/easylimu If you have questions, drop me a line!!

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J.C.

answers from Kansas City on

Hi A.,
Keep the faith! If you receive lots of medical oversight, you can have diabetes and a healthy baby! I had gestational diabetes and used insulin for the last 4 weeks of gestation (tried diet and exercise and some pills first). You'll probably be referred to a perinatalist and a nutritionist. You may have to go in for non-stress tests at the end of your pregnancy, where they just listen to the baby and make sure he/she is happy in there. Inconvenient, but re-assuring, too.

as far as insulin goes, they give you a diet where you are always eating protein with carbs and they give you the dose of insulin to use--you don't have to figure that out. You test your blood about 5-7 times a day. As your body changes, the perinatalist will tweak your insulin requirements, so it's VERY important you go to the perinatalist every week or two. (at the end of my pregnancy, I was taking over 100mg of insulin a day! There are 300lb 70 year old men who take less than 20mg a day!) I was tested for blood sugar 12 weeks after delivery and was fine. Never had any more insulin since the day I delivered (before delivery, not after) More importantly, I had a beautifully healthy 7lb 11oz little girl.

Advanced medical care ROCKS!

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M.S.

answers from Wichita on

It is normal to be unsure and scared when you have added health problems and are considering getting pregnant. If you are diabetic and have other problems your doctor is the one to ask about the risks. If you are asking the panel of moms I have a feeling that either you do not trust your doctor or you have many doctors that say different things. Find the one that you trust and discuss your concerns about regulating the dosage of insulin, the effect of your meds will have on the fetus or your pregnancy. As with any pregnancy there is going to be risks especallly when you have added health problems because of the changes the body normally goes through and how it stresses the body. And to tell you the truth no one can really tell you what problems you will, will not have as each person and experience is different. But if you trust your doctor, follow their orders and do everything you are supposed to more likey then not your pregnancy with be fine. But you also need to take in to consideration that your added health issues could make carrying to term a risk to either you or the baby. And is that risk worth the chance just to have a child.....I would talk to your husband as this decision should be a joint one. I had a bad pregnancy because of health issues that I had (but was not aware of) when I got pregnant and the ones that developed during the pregnancy because of the stress on my body. I was told after delivery that my son and I were lucky but that it would not be a good idea to try it again. The risk of either one of us dying if I tried to carry full term again would be higher because of the health issues. I discussed this with my husband but in the end I made the choice to not do it as it was not worth putting myself or a baby at risk. That was many years ago and the medicine has come along way since then but it is still something you are going to need to decide for your self after weighting the facts. Because in the end it is your body and decision to make. There are many children out there that need a loving home. Sorry I could not answer your questions better but hope that I helped in some way.

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A.P.

answers from St. Louis on

A.,
I am a type 1 insulin dependent diabetic who has had two perfectly healthy babies. I have soooo much I would like to share with you and anyone else who needs to know, but here's what I'll start with: Get yourself to a specialized OBGYN who works with many diabetic (not just high-risk) pregnancies.
I cannot tell you how important it is to have tight blood sugar control during your pregnancy. It all starts now, so that your baby has the best chance to develop in a health environment while in utero. I began months in advance both times to get my blood sugars within normal range before conception.
While we have different types of Diabetes, I am very passionate about helping other women who want to have children, and would love to share experiences with you.
If at all possible, get the best care. There is a group at St. Lukes hospital and St. Johns. They both specialize in delivery of Diabetics. The most important thing for you is to educate yourself!! Understanding diet and insulin dosing is easy if you have the right help.

And also....insulin shots are not the end of the world. I used to be on shots (6-9) a day with my first pregnancy, but now I'm on an insulin pump. Sorry to say so much, but your question caught my interest. You can do this!! But, it is going to affect your baby if you are not under good blood sugar control.

Remember, get the best specialist you can find. I went to Midwest Maternal Fetal Medicine at St. John's Mercy.

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A.W.

answers from St. Louis on

I had gestational diabetes with both of my babies (now 4 and 2 1/2) and had no problems. The first pregnancy I did not have to take insulin, but the second one my endrocrinologist convinced me that it was best for the baby, so I did. We discussed metaformin, but she said even though it has had no side effects for the baby yet it really has not been tested that long. Insulin is something your body makes naturally, so there are no side effects for the baby. The important thing is to monitor your bloos sugars regulary, and if they start going up to say something to your doctor so it won't get out of control. If you are healthy your baby will be too.

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K.C.

answers from Springfield on

Have you considered adopting? There are thousands of children out there waiting for a good home. If something happened to you or to the baby before it is born, would you be able to live with that? Are these conditions that you could likely pass on to your child? Pregnancy, as normal as it is, takes a definite toll on the mother's body. You will need to be physically 100% when it is time to care for your child. Just look into the possibilities of adoption. There are most likely several contacts in the yellow pages, or try shaohannahshope.org for a Christian source.

D.H.

answers from Kansas City on

A., I too am a type 2 diabetic who takes only Byetta. You will be fine. If you keep eating healthy you won't have any problems. The insulin will not only be for you but also for your baby. I had to take insulin with my second pregnancy and it isn't as bad as you think. Insulin comes in pre-measured viles just like the Byetta and you shouldn't have any problem taking it. Stick your thigh instead of your belly. The insulin will help your baby not grow to big in utero or develope any disorders also. You will most likely have to take your blood sugar more often than you do now to make sure you are getting enought insulin. But remember you are doing it for the baby.
My daughter was nearly a month early (she came naturally) but was 9 lb. and 8 oz. If she had come on her due date they predicted she would have been more than 11 pounds. The doctor was going to induce the next week which means she would have bee over 10 pounds. This is because of the diabetes. You will be fine. Don't fret because you are a "high risk pregnancy", I was with both of mine and I have to beautiful healthy daughters. Just follow your doctors advice and if you need to see a nutritionist then do so. Just eat healthy and only spurge every now and then. Oh, and you'll most likely go back on the Byetta after you've delivered your baby. God bless and worry will only raise your blood pressure, so don't and enjoy your pregnancy. Good luck conceving, you'll be fine.

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S.S.

answers from Kansas City on

Hello! I am 34 and I also have PCOS. I started seeing a midwife when I was 32. She put me on Metformin for the PCOS. So, along with a little more help because of other issues, I got pregnant with my 1st child at 32. Now, at 34 and being on metformin again..I got pregnant all on my own and expecting my 2nd baby. Maybe you should ask your doct. about the metformin. GOOD LUCK!
S. S.

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J.

answers from St. Louis on

I have pcos and had problems getting pregnant. I discovered if you put yourself on a healthy diet and exercise that you will get pregnant. With my first child I had gestational diabetes, so I had to watch my sugar intake. With my second pregnacy i watch my sugar early on and my diabetes was not a problem. Yes I know have 2 children very healthy all from a healthy diet and exercise. My doctor said I was very lucky to have had any children at all. I owe it all to have lost weight and was healthy when i conceived. Feel free to contact me anytime.

J.

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P.B.

answers from St. Louis on

I am a distributor for Market America. This company sells natural, nutritional supplements. The top seller for us is the OPC3 which has pycnogenol (pine bark) in it which has been know to aid with diabetic patients. This antioxidant and other supplements are helpful with cholesterol issues as well. If you are interested go to my web portal marketamerica.com/pambird. Check out the health and nutrition section. And, of course its always best to check with your doctor before starting anything new. Some doctors are receptive to natural supplements; others are not. I, at least, favor doctors who consider all alternatives to health issues. My niece recently had a very healthy baby girl and used the supplements during her pregnancy. Good Luck!

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B.D.

answers from St. Louis on

A.,
I don't much about fertility problems, but I can offer a little help with the insulin part. As the mother of a diabetic (insulin dependent) I have a lot of experience with insulin doses. All it will be is counting your carb intake at each meal and giving yourself enough insulin to cover those carbs. It's a simple ratio. They will teach you all that you need to know, and you will be fine. It's simple math to do on the calculator, and some basic label reading. My 11 year old son can do it on his own, so I know that you will be fine. Eat a healthy diet, count your carbs, and you will be just fine! Best wishes in your baby endeavors.

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Y.C.

answers from Springfield on

A., I am unsure of diebetic issues or the other situation you are in. One thing I do know is there is a God in heaven that will take care of you no matter what. And He will give you the healthy baby you long for is you just put your trust anf faith in Him.

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C.R.

answers from Wichita on

I too have PCOS and we tried for 6 years and we finally have a beautiful baby girl who is healthy! Was it easy, NO WAY. Was it worth it? Absolutely. So here is a quick breif, we did one round of clomid and injections and the paleolithic diet, and monitored basal body temperatures. It was stressful,No luck! What worked for me:We stopped trying for 1 year, I relaxed and I went organic. I used the 6 week body makeover and lost 35 lbs. I took Avandia and a multivitamin and excercised about 3-4 times a week. I then got a cream at the health food store that was progesterone and I rubbed it inside of my leg. 2-3 weeks after starting the cream I was pregnant. Now with PCOS I will tell you that I have had 2 miscarriages because I didn't know the low progesterone was a major cause of miscariage. So once I found out I was pregnant I had to get progesterone shots a few times a week. They were not fun but not a big deal. I didn't get gestational diabetes till my 3rd trimester. I could manage it by day with a strict diet but not at night so I had to take a pill at night. There was always the chance I would have to take insulin which is scary but I would have done it. I do want to say that I had the very best doctors, I reasearched and had been under the care of Dr. Albrecht at Conceptions in Colorado. He helped me and 2 of my other friends have succesful pregnancies. Secondly once my first trimester was over I went to Obstetrix/Peadiatrixs Dr Lindsey Gregory. He and my nurses were fantastic as well they are highrisk/neonatal specialists. I had ultrasounds almost everyweek, they checked her heart rate and movement 2 times per week. Really she was always fine they anticipated everything that came with a PCOS pregnancy and sailed me through it like I wasn't high risk. I can tell you it wasn't easy, but then having PCOS isn't an easy thing, but it is possible. I NEVER GAVE UP! Don't be afraid. Think positive. When in my heart I felt I was deserving and this was going to really happen for me I bought a little stuffed horse and said this is going to be for my baby. My positive outlook really got things rolling in the right direction.

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R.H.

answers from Joplin on

A.,

Everything about getting pregnant is scary and exciting. I have 4 children of my own and each one was a new adventure, although not quite the adventure you are embarking on. Your worries with the insulin are quite understandable, but your doctors will explain everything to you and will actually show you how to measure and give your insulin. My father has type 2 diabetes and had a mini-stroke a year and a half ago. They couldn't get his blood sugar down and so they began giving him insulin (he had never been on insulin before. He just controlled his diabetes through dieting.) And when it was time for him to go home they had a diabetic coach come in for 3 days straight to help him feel more comfortable about giving himself the injection. They also taught my mother how to inject him if the need ever arose.
I know that this time is an uncertain and scary time for both you and your husband, but the precious baby that you will have is worth the uncertainty. Good luck and God bless you and your family. R. H

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A.M.

answers from St. Louis on

Souns like you are going to have are long journey ahead of you if you do get pregnant. But I do know that taking insulin can be easy but also very tricky. Your doctor will probaly put you on what is called a sliding scale. Then you will just check your blood sugar before each meal and depending on what it is you will take a certain amount (units) of insulin and then you will have a set amount you will take at bedtime, to control it through the night. You will just have to watch you snacks throughout the day, cause even milk raises your blood sugar and when your using insulin instead of pills to control it, it might make it sky rocket before you next dose of insulin. Then you would have to take a large dose of insulin to bring you down, which could then make you bottom out if your not careful. Wouldn't be good for the baby if that happen. There are many different types of insulin though, too. So that is another good thing. I know about diabetes and insulin, but not so much along with being pregnant. Good Luck!

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C.L.

answers from Kansas City on

My best friend is a diabetic, before her pregnancys, she controlled it with diet, and pills. When she got pregnant the first time, she saw a specialist about every 2wks, and also a dietician to help with her diet. Ever since that pregnancy, she became insulin dependent. She's currently pregnant with her 2nd, and is again seeing a specialist every 2wks (now every week as she will deliver in a month or so), and the insulin still. You basically kind of do a trial and error with the insulin, your Dr's should help you till you get it right & figure out what's best for you, and ALWAYS keep something on in case your sugar gets to low. It woudln't hurt to consult with a dietician since this will be your first pregnancy etc. All the extra help can only help in the long run! Try and follow what the Dr says, and you should be ok! Just ask your Dr. tons of questions when needed, and if you feel the Dr isn't giving you the attention you need, ask another Dr or Nurse. Good Luck, hope it all works out!

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S.W.

answers from Kansas City on

I found out while I was trying to get pregnant that I have PCOS. I also have a pituitary tumor, which stacked the odds against me. I was already on medicine for the tumor and she also put me on two more. I was on glucophage for the PCOS and she also put me on Femara (also used for breast cancer) for fertility. She chose Femara because Clomid can enlarge your ovaries and it works just as well. I got pregnant after being on both medicines for two months and our daughter is now 8 1/2 months old. Let me know if you have any questions.

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P.P.

answers from Kansas City on

Hello,

I am an Independent Wellness Consulant maybe this information will help. Pam ###-###-#### This is just information I am
not a doctor I have certification in Nutrtion and have had positive results with our products

DIABETES ~ How Melaleuca Products Can Help...

RESEARCH AND OPINIONS BY Dr. PAUL SCAVONE

Among those age 65 and older, diabetes mellitus is listed as the number 6 leading cause of death. It is a major contributor to heart disease, the number 1 killer, and reduces life expectancy, on average, by 10 to 15 years. The incidence of diabetes, almost all type 2 or adult onset diabetes has risen 33% since 1990, paralleling the rise in the nation's rates of obesity. Half of all patients with diabetes do not yet know it, and each day, approximately 2,200 new cases of diabetes are diagnosed in this country. Older adults with diabetes are hospitalized two to three times more often then the general population and use primary care services two to three times more often than non-diabetics.

Diabetes - known medically as diabetes mellitus starts out as a disease of the pancreas. During digestion, your body breaks down carbohydrates from foods such as bread, rice, pasta, vegetables, fruit and milk products into different sugar molecules. One of these sugar molecules is glucose, the main source of fuel for your body.
Glucose, commonly called blood sugar is absorbed directly into your bloodstream after you eat, but it can't enter your cells without the help of insulin - a hormone normally secreted by your pancreas, an organ located behind your stomach.

INSULIN ALLOWS GLUCOSE TO ENTER YOUR CELLS
To understand why insulin is important, it helps to know more about how the body uses food for energy. Your body is made up of millions of cells. To make energy, these cells need food in a very simple form. When you eat or drink, much of your food is broken down into a simple sugar called glucose. Glucose ("sugar") provides the energy your body needs for daily activities.

Normally, glucose is able to enter your cells because of the action of insulin. Your bloodstream transports glucose both from where it is taken into the body after eating (the intestines) and where it is manufactured (in the liver) to the cells where it will be used (muscles, brain, etc.) or stored (in the liver) or converted to fat (also in the liver).

When blood glucose levels rise, they signal tiny cells (beta cells) in your pancreas to release insulin. The insulin acts like a key to unlock microscopic doors that allow glucose to enter the appropriate cells. This lowers the amount of glucose in your bloodstream and prevents it from reaching dangerously high levels. As your blood sugar level drops, so does the secretion of insulin from your pancreas.

At the same time, your liver stores any excess glucose in the form of glycogen. When insulin levels in your blood are low, your liver converts the stored glycogen into glucose and releases it into your bloodstream. When your pancreas is functioning normally, the amount of glucose in your blood fluctuates in response to a number of factors, including the type of food you eat, exercise, stress and infections. The complex relationship among insulin, glucose, your liver and other hormones ensures that your blood sugar stays within set limits.

But in diabetes mellitus, this process goes awry. Instead of being transported into your cells, too much glucose accumulates in your bloodstream, (called "high blood sugar") and eventually is excreted in your urine. This usually occurs either because your body doesn't produce enough insulin or because the cells don't respond to insulin properly.

More Americans have diabetes than ever before. The disease has grown by 8% to 17 million, based on updated U.S. census figures.

DIABETES OCCURS:
When the pancreas does not produce any insulin, or the pancreas produces very little insulin, or when the body does not respond appropriately to insulin, a condition called "insulin resistance."

TYPES OF DIABETES
The type of diabetes you have depends on the cause of the elevated blood glucose levels.

Type 1 diabetes. This form of diabetes develops when your pancreas makes little or no insulin. That's because your body's own immune system attacks your pancreas, destroying insulin-producing beta cells.

Normally, your immune system fights viruses, bacteria and other invading organisms. Researchers aren't sure what causes the immune system to attack your pancreas, but they believe genetic factors, exposure to certain viruses and diet may all play a role. It affects between 5 percent and 10 percent of people with the disease.

Type 1 used to be known as juvenile or insulin-dependent diabetes. But the name was changed because adults can also get type 1 diabetes. The damage to the insulin-producing cells in type 1 diabetes occurs over a period of years. However, the symptoms of type 1 diabetes may occur over a period of days to weeks, The damage to the insulin-producing cells in type 1 diabetes occurs over a period of years.

However, the symptoms of type 1 diabetes may occur over a period of days to weeks. Type 1 most commonly starts in people under the age of 20, but may occur at any age. Type 1 most commonly starts in people under the age of 20, but may occur at any age.

Type 2 diabetes. Type 2 diabetes is far more common than type 1, affecting more than 16 million Americans and is the 6th leading cause of death. It was once called adult-onset or non-insulin-dependent diabetes. But it, too, has a new name. That's because more and more young people are developing this type of diabetes and because some people with type 2 disease may need to use insulin. Unlike type 1, this form of diabetes isn't an autoimmune disease.

Instead, one of two processes may occur: Either your pancreas doesn't produce enough insulin to allow glucose into your cells, or your cells become resistant to insulin. It's not known just why this occurs, but excess weight and fatty tissue seem to be important factors. It usually starts in people over age 40 who are overweight. But the rise in obesity in young people has caused a rise in type 2 diabetes in that age group. Some people can manage their type 2 diabetes by controlling their weight, watching their diet, and exercising regularly. Others may also need to take a pill that helps them use their insulin better, or take insulin injections. < /span>

Both types of diabetes are serious. The accumulation of glucose in your blood can damage almost every major organ in your body. Eventually, diabetes can be fatal. It currently causes almost 200,000 deaths in the United States every year.No one has yet found a cure for diabetes mellitus. If you have diabetes, diet and exercise along with medications that control blood sugar can help you continue to live a healthy and active life.

Gestational diabetes. Gestational diabetes is triggered by pregnancy. Hormone changes during pregnancy can affect insulin's ability to work properly, resulting in high blood glucose levels. Pregnant women who have an increased risk of developing gestational diabetes are those who are over 25 years old, are above their normal body weight before pregnancy, have a family history of diabetes or are Hispanic, African-American, Native American, or Asian. Usually, blood glucose levels return to normal after childbirth. However, women who have had gestational diabetes have an increased risk of developing type 2 diabetes later in life.

Impaired glucose tolerance
Formerly called borderline diabetes, impaired glucose tolerance is a term that refers to people whose blood sugar levels are higher than they should be, but not quite high enough to be called diabetes. About 25% of those with impaired glucose tolerance will go on to develop type 2 diabetes.

SIGNS AND SYMPTOMS
It's not unusual to have diabetes mellitus and yet have no symptoms. Type 2 diabetes, in particular, develops slowly. Many people have type 2 diabetes for as long as 8 years before it's diagnosed. When symptoms do develop, they often vary. But two symptoms that occur in many people with the disease are increased thirst and frequent urination.

That's because excess glucose circulating in your body draws water from your tissues, making you feel dehydrated. To quench your thirst, you drink a lot of water and other beverages, and that leads to more frequent urination.

Other warning signs of diabetes mellitus include:
Fatigue, weakness and loss of appetite. Sugar is your body's main fuel, and when it doesn't reach your cells you may feel tired and weak.
Weight gain or loss. Because your body is trying to compensate for lost fluids and sugar, you may eat more than usual and gain weight. But the opposite also can occur. You may eat more than normal, but still lose weight because your muscle tissues don't get enough glucose to generate growth and energy.
Blurred vision. High levels of blood sugar pull fluid out of the tissues in your body - including the lenses of your eyes. This affects your ability to focus. In some cases, diabetes can lead to blindness.
Slow-healing sores or frequent infections. Diabetes affects your body's ability to heal and fight infection. Bladder and vaginal infections can be a particular problem for women.
Nerve damage (neuropathy). Excess sugar in your blood can damage the blood vessels to your nerves, leading to a number of symptoms. The most common are tingling and loss of sensation in your hands and feet.
You may also experience burning pain in your legs, feet, arms and hands. In addition, more than half of men age 50 and older with diabetes may experience some degree of sexual dysfunction from damage to the nerves that help produce an erection.
Red, swollen, tender gums. Diabetes increases the risk of infection in your gums and in the bones that hold your teeth in place. As a result your gums may pull away from your teeth, your teeth may become loose, or you may develop sores or pockets of pus in your gums.

RISK FACTORS FOR DEVELOPING DIABETES
Although the causes of diabetes are unknown, the following risk factors may increase your chance of getting diabetes:
A family history. If a parent or sibling in your family has diabetes, your risk of developing diabetes is increased.
Race or ethnic background. The risk of diabetes is greater in Hispanics, African-Americans, Native Americans, and Asians.
Weight. Being 20% or more over your optimal body weight is one of the main risk factors for diabetes - 8 out of 10 people with type 2 diabetes are overweight. That's because the more fatty tissue you have, the more resistant your cells become to your own insulin. If you have extra weight in the upper part of your body - particularly around your abdomen (apple-shaped) - you're especially at risk. In addition, women who gain even moderate amounts of weight - 10 to 20 pounds - as young adults are at higher risk of gestational diabetes. The good news is that many people with diabetes who are overweight can improve their glucose levels simply by losing weight.
Hypertension (high blood pressure).
Abnormal cholesterol levels. After you eat, your body digests the fat in your food and releases it into your bloodstream in two forms, cholesterol and triglycerides. People with type 2 diabetes often have unhealthy levels of cholesterol. That's partly because most people with type 2 diabetes are overweight, and excess weight contributes to higher cholesterol and triglyceride levels.

Cholesterol is a waxy, fatlike substance. Your body needs cholesterol for making cell walls and insulating your nerves. Your liver also uses it to make bile acids, which help digest your food. It's when you have too much cholesterol especially too much of a certain kind that trouble may occur.
Cholesterol can't travel through your bloodstream in its original form. During digestion your body coats cholesterol with protein. Once coated, the package is called a lipoprotein, or a fat-filled protein.

Cholesterol is packaged in three forms:

Low-density lipoprotein (LDL). This form is often described as "bad" cholesterol. One way to remember this is to think of the first L as meaning "lousy." If you have too much LDL in your blood, your body's cells become saturated with cholesterol, and it is deposited on your artery walls, where it accumulates and hardens. This hard substance, an accumulation of plaques, begins to narrow and harden artery walls, making it more difficult for blood to pass through them. If the flow of blood to your heart is severely diminished or completely interrupted, you'll have a heart attack. If blood flow to part of your brain is blocked, you'll have a stroke.
In people with diabetes, LDL cholesterol molecules tend to be smaller and denser than in people without diabetes. The denser the molecules, the more damage they can do.

High-density lipoprotein (HDL). Unlike LDL cholesterol, which contains mostly cholesterol, HDL cholesterol contains mostly protein. This form of cholesterol is often described as the "good" cholesterol. Think of the H as standing for "healthy." HDL cholesterol actually picks up cholesterol deposited on your artery walls and transports it to your liver for disposal.

Very-low-density lipoprotein (VLDL). Very-low-density lipoprotein is mainly composed of triglycerides, along with smaller amounts of cholesterol and protein. Elevations in VLDL cholesterol also can increase your risk of heart disease.

Triglycerides are the chemicals in which most fat exists in your body. Your body converts calories it doesn't immediately need to triglycerides and transports them to fat cells for storage. Later, hormones regulate the release of triglycerides to meet your energy needs between meals. Just as you need some cholesterol for good health, you need a certain level of triglycerides. But high levels can be unhealthy.

Diabetes can accelerate the development of clogged and hardened arteries (atherosclerosis), which increases your risk of a heart attack, stroke and poor circulation in your feet and legs.

To help you evaluate your blood fat levels, here's a chart that shows what the National Institutes of Health, recommends for all Americans. These numbers are only guidelines. Each number takes on greater meaning when you look at it in relation to other health risk factors.
For people with diabetes, recommended HDL cholesterol and triglycerides levels are the same as those for all Americans.
Because diabetes places you at greater risk of heart disease, the American Diabetes Association advocates an LDL cholesterol level of 100 milligrams per deciliter (mg/dL) of blood or lower.
<!--[if !supportLists]-->- <!--[endif]-->Recommended Low risk Borderline risk High risk
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LDL Cholesterol
Recommended: Less than 130 mg/dL (For people with diabetes: 100 mg/dL or less)
Low Risk: Less than 100 mg/
Borderline: dL 100-129 mg/dL
High Risk: 130 mg/dL or greater

HDL Cholesterol
Recommended: At least 35 mg/dL for men and 45 mg/dL for women
Low Risk: More than 45 mg/dL for men and 55 mg/dL for women
Borderline: 35-45 mg/dL for men and 45-55 mg/dL for women
High Risk: Less than 35 mg/dL for men and 45 mg/dL for women

Triglycerides
Recommended: Less than 200 mg/dL
Low Risk:Less than 200 mg/dL
Borderline: 200-399 mg/dL
High Risk: 400 mg/dL or more

Inactivity. The less active you are, the greater your risk of developing diabetes. Physical activity helps you control your weight, uses up glucose, makes your cells more sensitive to insulin, increases blood flow and improves circulation in even the smallest blood vessels. Exercise also helps build muscle mass. That's important because most of the glucose in your blood is absorbed into your muscles. When you have less muscle tissue, more sugar stays in your blood.
Age. Your risk of developing type 2 diabetes increases, as you get older - especially past the age of 45. About 20% of all Americans between 65 and 74 years of age have diabetes. Often, that's because people tend to exercise less, lose muscle mass and gain weight as they age. But diabetes is also increasing dramatically among younger people - especially those in their 30s and 40s.
Alcohol Use. Years of heavy alcohol intake increase your risk of developing diabetes.
Smoking. Smoking increases your risk.
History of gestational diabetes (developing diabetes during pregnancy) or of delivering babies over nine Pounds.
Autoimmune disease. Your body's defense system (immune system) attacks healthy insulin-producing beta cells in your pancreas.
Viruses. Some viruses are thought to play a part in diabetes development.

COMPLICATIONS
Diabetes can be easy to ignore, especially in the early stages when you're feeling fine and many patients have diabetes for several years before they learn of their illness. But diabetes is insidious, affecting almost every major organ in your body, including your heart, nerves, eyes and kidneys.
Diabetes produces both short-term complications, which are medical emergencies requiring immediate care and long-term complications, which develop gradually and may be disabling or even lead to premature death.

These short-term complications can lead to coma and should be considered medical emergencies:
Low blood sugar (hypoglycemia)
High blood sugar (diabetic hyperosmolar syndrome)
Increased blood acids (diabetic ketoacidosis)

VASCULAR DISEASE
Diabetes is considered a disease of the small blood vessels, including vessels that supply the heart, kidney, nerves, brain and eyes.
These long-term complications develop gradually and may be disabling or even lead to premature death.
Eye damage: Retinopathy - Nearly everyone with type 1 diabetes and more than 60 percent of people with type 2 diabetes develop deterioration in the blood vessels of the retina (diabetic retinopathy) by the time they've had diabetes for 20 years. The disease results because high blood sugar, especially coupled with high blood pressure, can damage the small blood vessels in the retina (back) of the eye, causing hemorrhages, swelling, scarring and loss of vision. With diabetic retinopathy, remaining vision is variable and print may be distorted or blurred. If cataracts are also present, print is hazy as well as distorted.
Macular Degeneration - The deterioration of the macula, the central area of the retina, is the most prevalent eye disease. The peripheral or side vision remains, so mobility need not be impaired. With macular degeneration, print appears distorted and segments of words may be
missing.
Diabetes can also lead to cataracts, and an increased risk for glaucoma. Diabetes is the leading cause of blindness among adults between the ages of 20-74 years in the United States . . Each year, roughly 20,000 people lose their sight because of diabetes.
Kidney damage (nephropathy). Your kidneys contain millions of tiny blood vessels that filter waste from your blood and eliminate it in your urine. But diabetes can damage this delicate filtering system before you notice any symptoms. Severe damage can lead to kidney failure or irreversible end-stage renal disease, accounting for 40% of all new cases. One in five people with diabetes go on to develop kidney disease that requires dialysis or a kidney transplant.
Nerve damage (neuropathy). About 60 to 70% of all people with diabetes have some type of nerve damage. Researchers think this occurs because excess sugar injures the walls of the tiny blood vessels (capillaries) that nourish your nerves. Damage to these blood vessels can impair delivery of oxygen and nutrients to the limb. This can cause tingling, numbness, burning or pain that usually begins at the tips of the toes or fingers and gradually spreads upwards and can affect the body's control of blood pressure, sexual function, heart rate, and bladder and bowel function. If not treated, you could lose all sense of feeling in the affected limb.
Amputations. The loss of feeling and sensation due to nerve damage means that cold and heat, pressure and even pain, often are not perceived. Small injuries and infections to go unnoticed. This means that sores, blisters and small cuts often go untreated. These injuries ignored, can lead to skin ulcerations, serious infection and possible gangrene leading to amputation. Diabetes is the most frequent cause of non-traumatic, lower-limb amputations. More than 56,000 diabetics have amputations each year. Good shoes and meticulous inspection of the feet and toenails on a daily basis can detect the earliest signs and is one of the best defenses. Older adults are more likely to develop the complications that lead to amputation.

A good friend, Chris Alexander who treats the inordinate number of diabetics who reside in the Appalachian areas of Tennessee , Virginia and North Carolina tells of this scenario: An over- weight person refuses to address diet, exerci se and nutrition, develops diabetes. Within five to fifteen years they develop foot and leg ulcers. Three years later they have a leg amputated. Within the next three years, the second leg is amputated and/or they die (50% morbidity), without ever modifying their life style to address the issue. Even more incredible is that these folks see their friends and relatives suffering and still refuse to change. Chris sees 1000 new diabetic patients and 150 to 200 new amputees each year.

Increased risk of infection
High circulating blood sugar levels reduce immune function, allowing infections to occur more easily and last longer in those with diabetes. Bacterial skin infections and yeast infections (oral thrush, vaginal yeast, fungal infections of the groin, feet, armpits, and under the breasts) are also common. Bacteria can infect diabetic foot ulcers, and can then travel inward and infect the bone.

HOW DIABETES IS MANAGED~~
At the present time, diabetes can't be cured, but it can be treated and controlled. The goals of managing diabetes are to:
Eliminate ALL artificial sweeteners and additives particularly Aspartame. Aspartame can precipitate clinical diabetes, keep blood sugar out of control, destroy the optic nerve, cause diabetics to go into convulsions, aggravate or simulate complications referable to kidneys and peripheral nerves and even interact with insulin. (See Dream Notes January 2002)
Sweeten with Stevia. Stevia is a herb/food, NOT AN ADDITIVE, that is naturally sweet - 200 to 300 times sweeter than sugar but has no calories. Stevia has absolutely no toxicity and can be used in coffee or tea, on cereal, or anywhere else that you have been using sweeteners. Stevia helps in the metabolism of sugar, which would be ideal for diabetics.
Keep your blood glucose levels as near to normal as possible by balancing food intake with medication and activity. In countries where people eat a diet low in fat and sugar and high in whole foods such as unrefined grains and fresh fruits and vegetables, diabetes is almost nonexistent. When they move to the US , their diabetes risk skyrockets. As Western processed and fast foods (McDonalds) and soft drinks (Coca-Cola & Pepsi) are introduced to Third World countries, their rates of diabetes are rapidly rising.
Maintain your blood cholesterol and triglyceride (lipid) levels as near their normal ranges as possible by decreasing the total amount of fat to 30% or less of total daily calories and by reducing saturated fat and cholesterol.
Control blood pressure. Your blood pressure should not go over 130/85.
Quit smoking.
Participate in daily resistance training and aerobic activity to increase insulin sensitivity and maintain cardiovascular integrity. Slow or possibly prevent the development of diabetes-related health problems utilizing nutritional and herbal supplements.

IN THE NEWS
The Journal of the American Medical Association in 2001, reported that individuals, 30-40 years old in the US have had a 70% increase in their risk of diabetes. This is almost a doubling of the risk!

One of the biblical laws of truth is that you reap what you sow. Too many Americans have been sowing too many grains and they will be reaping the rewards of having one of the worst chronic diseases - diabetes.

For centuries, fatter and more sedentary people have been considered more likely to get diabetes. The New England Journal of Medicine May 3,2001 has now proclaimed that in fact, one can "cure" type 2 diabetes with proper food choices, nutritional enhancements and exercise.

An Associated Press article from March 28, 2002 , reports that the government has created? a new disease (previously diseases were discovered not created). The threat of an epidemic of diabetes is now so great, that the U.S. government has created a whole new condition for those at risk, called "pre-diabetes." Health and Human Services Secretary Tommy G. Thompson warns that nearly 16 million Americans may suffer from the condition that sharply raises the risk for developing type 2 diabetes and increases the risk of heart disease by 50%. Thompson says, We want people to know that pre-diabetes is a serious condition that can be reversed or alleviated with modest changes in their daily routines?

Research shows that most people with pre-diabetes will develop diabetes within a decade unless they make changes in their lifestyle, such as eating a healthier diet and becoming more physically active.

The American Diabetes Association is calling for doctors to begin screening overweight patients over age 45 for pre-diabetes.

MELALEUCA the best thing that has ever happened for those with diabetes.
The American way of life -- too much food, too little exercise -- has contributed to an epidemic of diabetes that is striking people of all ages. A combination of lifestyle and ignorance puts them at high risk for a disease that can lead to severe complications such as amputation, heart attacks, stroke, and blindness. The good news is that many people manage to balance the demands of the disease and to enjoy full, happy and healthy lives. Eating the right kinds and amounts of food is important but taking the right supplements will determine both the quality and length of their life.

Proper nutrition starts with Melaleuca's Daily-4-Life and NOTHING IS BETTER!!
The Vitality Pack. . .Because nutrient absorption is difficult or even non-existent, fructose compounding provides supplementation not available anywhere else. This includes food. For someone with diabetes the Vitality Pack, may represent their first complete nutritional support since before they were diagnosed with the disease. It is important to know that fructose is not an insulin dependent sugar; that insulin is not required to metabolize and utilize fructose. This means that someone with diabetes can take the Vitality Pack and benefit from the total absorption of needed nutrients.
Cell-Wise, PROVEXCV and NutraView. . .When the burden from our environment becomes too much and the quality of our food supply becomes poor, the free radicals become overwhelming, leading to oxidative stress and disease including diabetes. The job of defending the body against free radicals falls to antioxidants and super antioxidants, a group of compounds that are uniquely qualified to disarm free radicals before they can attack their target tissue. These are the free radical police of the body. Vitamins C and E and beta-carotene work directly as antioxidants; the minerals selenium, copper, zinc and manganese can combine with certain enzymes to form antioxidants. All of these are found in natural Cell-Wise.
Super antioxidants pick up where antioxidants leave off, and work together to help keep your entire
body in peak health. These super antioxidants are found in PROVEX CV and NutraView.
Grape Seed and Grape Skin Extract - Proanthocyanidin extracted from grape seeds and skins has
been found to be the most potent antioxidant ever discovered. It is anti-inflammatory, anti-allergic,
anti-mutagenic and has a specific affinity for the connective tissue (collagen and elastin) of the body.
It provides cardiovascular protection by inhibiting platelet aggregation and the oxidation of LDL
cholesterol. It strengthens capillaries and improves blood flow to them.
Ginkgo Biloba Extract - Enhances memory by increasing blood flow to the brain.
Bilberry Extract - Contains anthocyanosides, which have demonstrated the ability to accelerate the production of visual purple, the pigment in the receptors in the eye needed to send nerve impulses to the brain
Lutein - Offers protection from macular degeneration and cataracts.
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Quercetin - Promotes proper respiratory function and inflammatory response.
Each of the Antioxidants and Super Antioxidants do specific jobs and are not interchangeable. Simply put, the Antioxidants PROTECT and PREVENT at the cellular level.
The Super Antioxidants TREAT and REVERSE damage done to tissues and organs.
Cell-Wise, PROVEX CV and NutraView will address and prevent the damage to the small blood vessels that supply the heart, kidneys, eyes and particularly the nerves.

In 1936, Dr. A.R. Penfold in The Medical Journal of Australia reported one of the first documented medical uses of melaleuca oil, treating diabetic gangrene. Another Australian study by Dr. Jill Fogerty of Sydney , demonstrated a healing of cracks and softer skin on the legs of diabetic patients using a lotion containing tea tree oil. The American Diabetes Association reports that 15% of all diabetics will eventually develop foot ulcers that frequently become infected and leads to amputations.

T36C5 and T40C3 melaleuca oil, Mela-Gel, Triple Antibiotic Ointment, ReNew Problem Skin Lotion, ReNew Bath Oil, Body Satin Hydrating Body Lotion, Sole to Soul Revitalizing Foot Lotion, Reviving Foot Spray, The Gold Bar, Antibacterial Liquid Soap and Sol-U-Mel are Melaleuca products, which are appropriate to prevent and treat skin breakdown and infections so common with diabetes.

People with diabetes have an increased risk for developing gum infections or periodontal disease. This condition is often more frequent and more severe than in the general population. It starts at an earlier age, often before the diabetic reaches 40. Periodontal infections can cause blood-sugar levels to drift out of control and play a major role in tooth loss. Since dental problems, including poor or missing teeth can make eating the right foods difficult and sometimes nearly impossible.
Gingivitis is the first stage of periodontal disease. Poor brushing and lack of flossing can lead to plaque buildup. Gums become red and infected, leading to tooth decay. MelaleucaTs Denti-Care products including Denti-Clean Tooth Polish, Breath-Away Antibacterial Mouthwash and Exceed Dental Floss will provide diabetics oral health, so essential to general health and well-being.

SPECIAL NOTE: I want to thank friend, pharmacist and diabetic, Ron Lamb from Transit Hill Pharmacy in Depew, New York, for sharing his expertise on the following: Diabetes requires careful monitoring of everything consumed.

Calories are counted and carbohydrates, particularly sugars, fats and proteins apportioned to maintain proper blood sugars. My suggestion for any diabetic would be to monitor their blood sugar levels and see how any of Melaleuca'sT Healthy Foods affect them. I would not make the assumption that the body's response will be the same for all of the products.

That said, we are all told the best way to control our weight, blood pressure and cholesterol is to drink plenty of water, exercise and consume 25 to 35 grams of fiber daily. This is even more important for someone with diabetes because in addition to these conditions, fiber will actually help control their blood sugar. I believe, FiberWise will benefit diabetics and should not cause a blood sugar problem. This is Fiber!? will also provide more fiber but may have to be counted as part of a meal or snack.

The Attain Shake and the Attain Bar can be used as a meal replacement and benefit a diabetic by helping to lose or maintain weight, a big problem especially for type 2 diabetes. The two products are formulated differently; therefore, careful monitoring is necessary to determine the effect on each person.

The ACCESS BAR is fundamentally different. There appears to be less effect on the blood levels of glucose since the simple and complex carbohydrates are at a low enough level that they typically do not provoke an insulin need.

Yet, even with that said, the diabetic should monitor their blood glucose levels. We have several diabetic customers who find that cutting the ACCESS BAR into thirds and consuming one-third at half hour increments, in place of a snack, will produce a much more even blood sugar level.

G'Day Herbal Teas are sugar and caffeine free and contain no artificial coloring, flavoring or preservatives. They provide a great way to increase fluid intake.

ISN'T IT ABOUT TIME YOU TOLD SOMEONE WHO HAS DIABETES ABOUT MELALEUCA?
Not what we gain, but what we give........measures the worth of the life we live.

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J.J.

answers from St. Louis on

Hi A.,
Please dont worry so much.With my last 2 sons i was diabetic and had two other blood disorders, one causing clotting the other causing week blood vessels and PCOS. i also had trouble getting pregnant after my first son which i had at 16. I think it was due to how much weight i put on (due to bad diet) after he was born.
We now have 3 beautiful boys 15,6,and 1. My last pregnancy was tough I was taking insulin and heprin shots about 8 shots a day total. As bad as that sounds it really was not.
Controlling the insulin is pretty easy. I
found that as you get further along you have to adjust it more but its no big deal usually. Your doctor will tell you how much to start with and you just adjust it a little at a time or call the docs office and they will tell you what to do. It really helps to keep a notebook of what you ate and what your numbers where after that meal,that will help you adjust it. The doc should also give you numbers to call with questions. Now, if your doc just perscibes the insulin and sends you on your way to figure it out on your own,then its time for a new doc.
So,please dont worry! Doctors are amazing these days and there is so much new technology.You and your BABY will be fine.

Smallavatar-fefd015f3e6a23a79637b7ec8e9ddaa6

H.H.

answers from Kansas City on

My cousin has been diabetic since she was 10 and uses insulin and had a baby last year at age 23. He is a very healthy little boy and she did fine. She was also high risk and had more doctor appointments than the average pregnancy but she did fine with her pregnancy and plans to have another baby in the future.

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G.B.

answers from Kansas City on

This being a high risk pregnancy means you will need to be watched more carefully. You will have to measure the insulin out, but insulin is in your body now, so it doesn't hurt the baby. After you get pregnant you will be able to go to see a diebetic educator (usually a nurse) who will instruct you on what to eat and how to measure and inject the insulin. This will be very important, so make sure you register for any education available to you.

Smallavatar-fefd015f3e6a23a79637b7ec8e9ddaa6

J.A.

answers from St. Louis on

A., I am an insulin dependent type 1 diabetic and I have also had two children while taking insulin. The doctors form together with what is called a Diabetes educator who helps to teach you about how to measure your insulin and how much to take with each meal. With practice, you will get the hang of it. Your doctors should keep close monitor of you and will help you adjust your dosage if needed. You will be high risk, yes, but the doctors will keep a very close eye on you to monitor you and your baby's progress. Keeping your blood sugars at a moderate level will keep your baby from getting to big for delivery. You'll do fine, after you get the hang of it within a couple of days you will start to feel like an old pro and it will become as second nature to you as getting up and getting ready to go to work each day. It will ultimately become part of your daily routine and you'll do great! Good luck and keep me posted on how things are going!

Next question: Alternatives to Treating/managing Type 2 Diabetes.