Managing diabetes involves managing your blood sugar

Diabetes is a disease that occurs when the body cannot make or properly use insulin, a hormone you need so your body can change sugar, starches and other food into energy. Untreated, diabetes can cause serious vision problems, and damage your kidneys and cardiovascular system. There are two types of diabetes:

  • Type 1
    Occurs in childhood or young adulthood. It's a lifelong condition treated with insulin injections
  • Type 2
    The body makes some insulin, but it's not enough. This type of diabetes can be managed with exercise and diet to keep blood sugar levels in a healthy range

Pregestational diabetes

This occurs when a woman who already has diabetes becomes pregnant. It's important to manage blood sugar levels, because if blood sugar is too high during the early weeks of pregnancy, it can cause damage to the baby's organs.

Controlling pregestational diabetes:

  • Check blood sugar often
  • Change your diet as recommended by your doctor
  • Possibly change your medications or insulin dose
  • Eat right
  • Exercise regularly

Gestational diabetes

This type of diabetes occurs during pregnancy. It happens to about 4 percent of pregnant women. It's important to manage blood sugar levels, because if blood sugar is too high during pregnancy, it can cause complications for the baby like jaundice, low blood sugar at birth and respiratory problems. Doctors test for gestational diabetes between the 24th and 28th week.

Risk factors for gestational diabetes:

  • Overweight before pregnancy
  • Family history of diabetes
  • Previous baby with birth weight of 9 pounds or more
  • Age 25 or older
  • Hispanic, African American, Native American, Asian American or Pacific Island descent

Gestational diabetes can be managed through:

  • Changes to your diet
  • Careful monitoring of your blood sugar
  • Getting doses of insulin via:
    • An injection or shot
    • An insulin pump