Diabetes in women
Diabetes describes a group of metabolic diseases in which a person has high blood sugar due to problems processing or producing insulin. it can affect anyone, regardless of age, race, gender, or lifestyle.
Between 1971 and 2000, the death rate for men with diabetes fell, according to a study in Annals of Internal Medicine.
According to the study, the death rate for women with diabetes showed no signs of improvement. Additionally, the difference in death rates between women who had diabetes and those who didn’t more than doubled.
This study of diabetes in men and women presented several possible reasons for the gender differences. Reasons included:
Women often receive less aggressive treatment for cardiovascular risk factors and conditions related to diabetes.
The complications of diabetes in women are more difficult to diagnose.
Women often have different kinds of heart disease than men.
Hormones and inflammation act differently in women.
According to the global reports from the World Health Organization from 2014, there were an estimated 422 million adults living with diabetes. This is up from 108 million that was reported in 1980.
Symptoms of diabetes in women
Most symptoms are same in men and women. However, some symptoms are unique to women. Symptoms unique to women include:
Vaginal and oral yeast infections and vaginal thrush
An overgrowth of yeast caused by the candida fungus can cause vaginal yeast infections, oral yeast infections, and vaginal thrush. These infections are common in women.
When the infection develops in the vaginal area, symptoms include itching, soreness, vaginal discharge, and painful sex. Oral yeast infections often cause a cottage-cheese coating on the tongue and inside of the mouth
The risk of a urinary tract infection (UTI) is higher in women who have diabetes. UTIs develop when bacteria enter the urinary tract. These infections can cause painful urination, a burning sensation, and bloody or cloudy urine.
Female sexual dysfunction
Diabetic neuropathy occurs when high blood glucose damages nerve fibers. This can trigger tingling and loss of feeling in different parts of the body, including the hands, feet, and legs. This condition may also affect sensation in the vaginal area and lower a woman’s sex drive.
Polycystic ovary syndrome
This disorder occurs when the adrenal gland produces a higher amount of male hormones. Signs of polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS) include irregular periods, weight gain, acne, and depression. It can also cause infertility and a type of insulin resistance. This results in elevated blood sugar levels and increases the risk of developing diabetes.
Common Symptoms for both women and men
Both men and women may experience the following symptoms of undiagnosed diabetes:
- Increased thirst and hunger
- Frequent urination
- Weight loss or gain that has no obvious cause
- Blurred vision
- Wounds that heal slowly
- Skin infections
- Patches of darker skin in areas of the body that have creases
- Breath that has a sweet, fruity, or acetone odor
- Reduced feeling in your hands or feet
It’s important to keep in mind that many people with type 2 diabetes have no noticeable symptoms.
Pregnancy and type 1 and type 2 diabetes
A healthy pregnancy can be preferred after being diagnosed with type 1 or type 2 diabetes. However, it’s important to manage condition before and during pregnancy to avoid complications.
During pregnancy, blood glucose and ketones travel through the placenta to the baby. Transferring high blood sugar to unborn babies puts them at risk for cognitive impairments, developmental delays, and high blood pressure.
This is different from type 1 and type 2 diabetes because it’s specific to pregnant women. Gestational diabetes occurs in approximately 9.2 percent of pregnancies. The hormones of pregnancy interfere with the way insulin works.
It often develops later in pregnancy. According to the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases, pregnant women diagnosed with gestational diabetes early in pregnancy may have had diabetes prior to pregnancy.
In most women, gestational diabetes goes away after pregnancy.
Risk factors for diabetes in women
According to study, any person is at risk for type 2 diabetes if one is:
- Older than 45
- Overweight or obese
- Have a family history of diabetes (parent or sibling)
- Had a baby with a birth weight of more than 9 pounds
- Had gestational diabetes
- Having high blood pressure
- Having high cholesterol
- Exercise less than three times a week
- Having other health conditions that are linked to problems using insulin, such as PCOS
- Having a history of heart disease or stroke
To keep blood glucose at a healthy level, regular checkup of blood sugar before, during, and after the period is required.
Some birth control pills can increase blood glucose. To maintain a healthy level of blood glucose, one can ask a doctor about switching to a low-dose birth control pill.
Take insulin as prescribed, exercise regularly, reduce carbohydrate intake, choose low-glycemic foods, and monitor blood sugar.
- Metformin (Glucophage), which reduces blood sugar
- Sulfonylureas like chlorpropamide, which increase pancreatic insulin secretion
- Meglitinides, which stimulate the pancreas to release more insulin
- Exercising and maintaining a healthy weight
- Avoiding smoking cigarettes
- Eating a diet focused on fruits, vegetables, and whole grains
- Monitoring blood sugar
Women with diabetes can try a variety of alternative remedies to managing their symptoms. These include:
- Taking supplements like chromium or magnesium
- Eating more broccoli, buckwheat, sage, peas, and fenugreek seeds
- Taking plant supplements
Remember to consult with a doctor before trying any new treatments.