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Elevated Risk of Birth Defects Found in Women With Pre-Pregnancy Diabetes

Thursday, January 01, 2009 by: E.L. West
Tags: diabetes, health news, Natural News

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(NewsTarget) Type II diabetes is a very troublesome condition. Without a proper diet (avoiding non-fibrous carbohydrates, trans fats) and exercise routine, the condition can spiral out of control, leading to amputations, blindness, and eventually death. There is another undesirable effect that it has: birth defects. In a new research study, it was shown that women with pre-gestational diabetes (diabetes before pregnancy) are three to four times more like to have a child with birth defects than other women.

This startling new study, which is the largest of its kind to record this kind of information, has described at least 40 different types of birth defects that can afflict the infant. From spine malformation to missing kidneys, these birth defects are serious and carry certain hardships that the child will face. For a long time, many birth defects have been shrouded in mystery, confounding researchers who unsuccessfully tried to uncover their origins. Now, we may have found the culprit for at least some of those birth defects: type II diabetes.

This information is very important because there is a sort of lax attitude in regards to the severity of type II diabetes. Recently, a collection of focus groups were instructed to rate the severity of various health problems such as cancer, heart disease, and of course diabetes, on a scale of 1 to ten. Heart disease and cancer consistently received ratings of 9s and 10s, while diabetes got 4s and 5s. This consensus shows how little people know about type II diabetes and the actual severity of the condition. Larry Hausner, chief executive of the American Diabetes Association, succinctly commented on the lay person's posture in the preceding focus groups on type II diabetes. He stated:

"The general consensus seems to be, 'There's medication,' 'Look how good people look with diabetes' or 'I've never heard of anybody dying of diabetes'."

The participants have no idea just how devastating diabetes is to its victims. Sexual dysfunction, depression, sleep apnoea and other sleep disorders, kidney failure, stroke, heart disease, cancer, and now birth defects: these disorders all describe the symptoms of an even greater problem: type II diabetes. More needs to be done to de-mystify this condition, and action needs to be exacted so that society can rid itself of this blasť mind-set about the seriousness of this condition. If this can be accomplished, it will lead to people who want to prevent its occurrence; people who want to have healthier lives, and less birth defects for their children.

It is no longer about the effects that type II diabetes has on one person. No, it affects someone who never had a say in whether or not mommy should've had those extra cookies. The decision to live unhealthily while pregnant has certain consequences that not only affect the mother, but her unborn child as well. This disorder is affecting the littlest of victims who have no way to defend themselves against their mother's unknowing actions. If the woman's own health doesn't make her consider lifestyle changes, then maybe the prospect of harming the wellbeing of her unborn baby will prompt her to change. We counsel mothers to quit smoking, drinking, taking drugs (prescription and otherwise), drinking caffeine; all these rules and regulations we have set before them. It is now time to add eating sensibly and avoiding unhealthy sugary foods if there is a history of diabetes to that long list.


1. (http://abcnews.go.com/Health/DiabetesNews/wi...)

2. (www.nytimes.com/2008/07/01/health/01well.htm...)

About the author

Emily West is a freelance writer that focuses on topics of natural health and sustainable food production systems. She also maintains a blog, The Wordsmith, at www.journeyoutofrabbithole.wordpress.com

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