Women con­trol­ling di­a­betes

The theme for this year’s World Di­a­betes Day is Women and Di­a­betes – Our right to a Healthy Fu­ture.

The Star Malaysia - - Fit For Life - By LOH FOON FONG foon­fong@thes­tar.com.my JAYA:

PETALING When sales ex­ec­u­tive Lee Swie Yie un­ex­pect­edly got preg­nant in late 2015, she was wor­ried as she has di­a­betes.

Lee, 26, who was di­ag­nosed with di­a­betes type 1 when she was 15, said she was ini­tially anx­ious be­cause a di­a­betic preg­nant woman has a higher risk of mis­car­riage as well as foetal de­for­mi­ties if her blood sugar level is not well-con­trolled.

“I also thought I couldn’t have a cae­sarean section be­cause wound heal­ing may be prob­lem­atic.

“I also didn’t wish to see my own child de­vel­op­ing di­a­betes due to my his­tory,” said Lee, who lives in Pe­nang.

How­ever, the doc­tor told her that as long as her blood sugar was well-con­trolled, the wound could re­cover, ex­cept that it would take a longer time, she said.

Lee, who had opted for a cae­sarean section due to her small frame, said that her hus­band and she then made up their minds to do their best to keep the baby healthy rather than wor­ry­ing about the worst pos­si­bil­i­ties.

“The doc­tors helped me con­trol my blood glu­cose and did reg­u­lar scans to check on my baby while the di­eti­tian taught me about healthy di­ets to keep my blood glu­cose lev­els nor­mal,” she said.

She was told to change her in­sulin and to in­ject it four times a day in­stead of her nor­mal twice a day as she had done be­fore her preg­nancy.

She said she was in­tro­duced to an in­sulin pump, and although costly, it helped her con­trol her blood glu­cose bet­ter. (In­sulin pumps de­liver rapid- or short-act­ing in­sulin 24 hours a day through a catheter placed un­der the skin.)

Lee re­called that it was chal­leng­ing keep­ing her blood glu­cose lev­els nor­mal due to con­tin­u­ous hor­monal changes through­out her preg­nancy.

“The most chal­leng­ing part was that each trimester, I needed a dif­fer­ent amount of in­sulin and I had to keep check­ing my blood glu­cose to avoid hy­po­gly­caemia or hy­per­gly­caemia, which is not good for the baby.

“My blood glu­cose was swing­ing up and down. It was hard to con­trol be­cause hor­monal changes re­sulted in a higher need of in­sulin, es­pe­cially dur­ing the third trimester, and with more in­sulin in­jected, the more fre­quently I felt hun­gry and the more I tended to eat,” she said.

She said that she of­ten ate food with low glycemic in­dex, less salt, less oil, low car­bo­hy­drate and less sugar.

“I ate small amounts of food for each meal, but in­creased the num­ber of meals I had.

“I ate more veg­eta­bles and fruits to pre­vent con­sti­pa­tion, and I found kiwi fruit es­pe­cially good,” she said.

A di­eti­tian also rec­om­mended her to drink a cer­tain milk brand that did not con­tain much sugar.

Lee said she was grate­ful that her baby was born healthy the fol­low­ing July.

She ad­mit­ted that she had never been care­ful about her diet or in con­trol of her di­a­betes un­til she got preg­nant.

“The nine months were the hard­est days I’ve gone through but it was worth it when I saw my baby,” she said, adding that she re­ceived a lot of sup­port from her fam­ily, es­pe­cially her hus­band.

Her motto: Stay cheer­ful, have a bal­anced diet, do some ex­er­cise and take con­trol of your blood glu­cose.

Re­tiree Nancy Ooi, 67, who has had di­a­betes for more than

10 years, said she takes her med­i­ca­tion reg­u­larly and lim­its her sugar and car­bo­hy­drate in­take.

“I no­ticed that many peo­ple do not like to take medicine. But doc­tors told us if we do not take medicine, we are ex­pos­ing our­selves to com­pli­ca­tions and mak­ing things worse,” she said.

The doc­tor sent her to see a di­eti­tian for ad­vice about her food habits.

Ooi said that she nor­mally has her break­fast at home as she could bet­ter con­trol her blood sugar level.

She said she would limit eat­ing sweet and sour meat and not take any syrup or fruit juices but eat fruits in­stead – one slice a day if it is a sweet fruit.

Mean­while, she said she also does brisk walk­ing ev­ery morn­ing in the neigh­bour­hood park and some gar­den­ing in the com­mu­nity gar­den.

“If I take more sugar on some days, I will work out more,” she said.

Green work­out: Ooi tend­ing to a com­mu­nity gar­den in her area in USJ, Subang Jaya, Se­lan­gor.

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