Diabetes affects women differently because of the multitude of hormones they possess. Natural processes of menstruation and menopause cause fluctuating hormones which are completely natural but get triggered to cause severe side effects upon having diabetes. Stress and obesity in women coupled with fluctuating emotions compound serious health issues upon having diabetes. Here are 6 ways in which diabetes affects women differently:
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Increased heart attack risk
Compared to women without diabetes, women with diabetes are three to four times more likely to get a heart attack. The primary cause of death for women is complications from heart disease. Heart-related health issues very often go undiagnosed in women. The common health scare women look out for is breast cancer but let me tell you heart-related health problems are six times more prevalent than breast cancer.
Being a woman with diabetes you must consult your doctor about the risk of heart-related health issues. So, you can team up with your doctor to prepare a plan to minimize the health risk as much as possible.
Additional menopause symptoms
Women have protection against heart-related issues because of estrogen before their menopause but a woman with diabetes loses that protection. Some additional menopause symptoms invoked by diabetes are:
- Hot flashes – It leads to poor sleep, which in turn leads to fluctuating insulin levels. Making it difficult to manage the diabetes level.
- Affects pleasure – Diabetes and menopause compound to cause vaginal dryness leading to painful sex.
Here are ways you can manage these side effects:
- Keep a regular track of your blood sugar levels, more often than usual. So, that you can share all the fluctuations with your doctor. This will allow your doctor to treat you effectively.
- Regular exercise is vital with your menopause weight gain with menopause makes it difficult to manage the blood glucose levels. Which in turn affects your menopause severity? Both of them are interrelated.
Blood sugar changes during the menstrual cycle
Halfway through the menstrual cycle women with diabetes experience insulin resistance causing a spike in the insulin level and cravings for carbohydrates. Overindulgence in carbs can raise your insulin level, invoke a feeling of leatheriness, and diminish the feeling to exercise. Leading to no periods, irregular periods, and prolonged periods. Here are ways you can manage these side effects and consult gynecologist online
- Carb craving is rampant during this time, we urge you to stick to whole foods and avoid carb-loaded sugary foods.
- You are prone to feel lethargic and exercise may not be your best idea but exercise coupled with a balanced meal can help in managing insulin resistance.
Risk of gestational diabetes
Gestational diabetes can develop during pregnancy. Although it is temporary and only for the period of pregnancy, it can be harmful to the expecting mother and fetus if it goes untreated. During pregnancy, the body produces some hormones and goes through other changes. These changes cause the body not to be able to utilize insulin as it normally would, causing insulin resistance.
Many develop gestational diabetes during the latter part of their pregnancy. Some may experience insulin resistance at the beginning too. Gestational diabetes vanishes as soon as the baby is born. But there is still a risk of 50% of the development of type 2 diabetes after pregnancy if the weight gain during pregnancy is not managed to return to normal.
Affects mental health
The effects of diabetes are severe on the mental health of women along with other side effects and challenges that come with diabetes they also experience the effect of diabetes on their menstrual cycle, menopause, conceiving, and pleasure. Diabetes only makes these natural experiences that are challenging on their own more difficult. This leads to anxiety, not being able to think clearly, and heightened fatigue.
Diabetes distress is a mental health problem caused by diabetes. It is a depression caused by anxiety and fear over fluctuations in insulin level management. More than half of women with diabetes experience diabetes distress sometimes.
Diabetes affects women during pregnancy
Women with diabetes have a challenging pregnancy if their blood glucose levels are not in control. In case the blood sugar levels are not in control during the first two months of the pregnancy when the organs of the fetus are formed. It leads to severe birth defects of the organs, that are the spine, the heart, and the brain. Uncontrolled insulin resistance during pregnancy can also lead to stillbirth or miscarriage. Being a woman with diabetes it is best to plan your pregnancy and can Consult Diabetologist Online
Tips to manage Diabetes
- Stay active
Staying active enables the utilization of stored insulin in your blood. This helps in your insulin sensitivity and all the side effects from it. 20-25 minutes of moderate physical activity engaging all the major muscle groups every week is good practice. Start with something simple and easy. For example, if you like spending time in nature, take up walking in the park, or jogging. Staying active is a huge step in managing your insulin sensitivity.
- Keep a track of your weight
Weight is deeply interrelated to diabetes. It is also among the causes of diabetes. So, it is critically important to work towards maintaining a healthy weight. Ways to keep track of your weight with diabetes are:
- Monitoring what you eat, there are always healthy alternatives to tempting but unhealthy high in sugar foods.
- Strategies to tackle cravings
- Keep healthy snacks around you
- Meet your doctor from time to time
Diabetes is a complex disease. It is ultimately you who will do all the things to manage your diabetes. Your doctor will help you with tools to manage it. Meeting with your doctor is crucial to understand the disease so that you can best manage it. Come up with an action plan which is modified by your health care provider after every meet-up.
Diabetes is an emotionally challenging disease. Accepting the situation can give you the mental strength to tackle it. Hope this educates more on this complicated disease. Please take diabetes seriously and work towards maintaining your glucose levels.