Having Kids Benefits Those with Diabetes

children diabetesWhile conventional wisdom has somewhat hesitated to suggest that patients—particularly women—with diabetes should actively try to have children, new research suggests that this might, in the long term, actually be a very good idea. Of course, there is not yet a cure for diabetes, and certainly any diabetes patients attempting a pregnancy should work very closely with their doctor and follow individualized advisements. However, a study presented at this year’s European Association for the Study of Diabetes has found that having children seems to benefit mortality rates in individuals with type 1 diabetes. While patients still must adhere to diabetes control regimens, such as testing glucose levels with the help of glucose test kits with components like accuchek lancets, prodigy test strips, and other items, it’s possible that having kids could affect a major lifestyle improvement for diabetics—particularly women.

Lena Sjöberg, M.D., headed up the study at the University of Helsinki, following and analyzing mortality among 5,162 individuals with type one diabetes who were diagnosed as children or adolescents from 1965 to 1979 and placed on insulin. The study matched two control patients who didn’t have diabetes with every one person with the disease. Those with diabetes have multiple options for insulin medication; diabetic supply companies carry everything from insulin pump supplies to insulin pen needles, as well as a variety of insulin syringes and diabetic accessories. The researchers found that 1,025 diabetics and 497 control group individuals died as of the end of 2010; while the overall mortality rate was significantly higher in both men and women with diabetes than among the control group, the researchers found that it was half as large in those with children. Interestingly, among women having children lowered mortality to a similar extent regardless of diabetes status. It’s possible that the fact of having children may have spurred parents to be more consistent in their monitoring and self-care. If the parents had children with diabetes, then certainly the parents would want to model good behavior, making sure to keep supplies of their preferred products such as accuchek lancets, prodigy test strips, and other diabetic accessories.

Sjöberg and her colleagues also posited that a potential reason that women with diabetes received such a benefit from having children—over and above the benefit conferred to men with the disease—is that women are more educated on the risks associated with their condition and are more motivated to reach glycemic goals. It’s important to remember that while pregnant, women need to have an even tighter control of their glucose levels than usual; the change in habits may be lasting. Both women and men with diabetes should make sure that they are working with a physician to make the decision of whether or not to have children, and to keep a supply of the diabetic accessories they need, from accuchek lancets or prodigy test strips to insulin administration supplies like insulin pen needles, insulin pump supplies, or insulin syringes. While there are risks associated with pregnancy and with having children, it may be beneficial in the long run, and should definitely be discussed.

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