Women and Diabetes

Overview

Women with diabetes have plenty of complications when compared to men with diabetes. Diabetes increases heart disease risk by almost four times in women, but only about two times in men. In addition, women have worse outcomes after a heart attack.

Women are also at greater risk of other diabetes-related complications like kidney disease, depression and blindness. Unfortunately, nearly one-third of diabetic women do not know they have the disease. And they don’t receive the proper treatment for controlling the complications of diabetes.

What is Diabetes?

Diabetes is a disease that occurs when your blood glucose (blood sugar) is too high due to producing insulin. In other words, it can also be defined as the disease of the pancreas. Blood glucose is the principal source of energy that comes from the food we eat and insulin helps glucose enter the cells where it is converted to energy. Insulin is most important hormone produced by the pancreas. Insulin allows our body to use glucose (sugar) from carbohydrates in the food that we eat for energy or to store sugar for future use. Diabetes occurs when the pancreas cannot produce enough insulin, cannot use insulin or even both.

There are two types of diabetes:

  • Type-1 Diabetes: It is a chronic condition in which the pancreas produces little or no insulin. There may be both genetic and environmental reasons.
  • Type-2 Diabetes: In simple words, it is known as adult-onset diabetes. This type of diabetes occurs when your body cannot use insulin efficiently. This occurs due to some genetic, lack of exercise or even due to overweight.
  • Gestational diabetes: This occurs in women during pregnancy and this may resolve after the baby is delivered.

Type 1 diabetes can occur at any age, it often occurs in children or young adults. Type 2 diabetes is the most common type and its more common in people who are older than 40. Whatever may be the type of diabetes, it increases sugar levels in your blood and it can lead to serious health problems.

What is Pre-diabetes?

Pre-diabetes means your blood sugar (glucose) level is higher than normal, but it is lower than the diabetes range. It also means you are at a higher risk of getting type 2 diabetes and heart disease. If you have pre-diabetes, you can make healthy changes, such as doing some type of physical activity on most days, to lower your risk of getting diabetes and return to normal blood sugar levels.

Symptoms:

When it comes to the symptoms, type 1 diabetes symptoms are usually more severe and develop rapidly when compared to the other one. Type 2 diabetes may not show symptoms rapidly but they develop over time and it is difficult to notice the type 2 symptoms. Common symptoms of type 1 and type 2 diabetes are:

  • Frequent urination
  • Utmost hunger
  • Increased thirst
  • Fatigue (to feel exhausted)
  • Vaginal dryness (It is the most common sexual issue for women who have diabetes. That affect lubrication and make sex uncomfortable for women)
  • Lack of interest or desire for sex
  • Vaginal infections: If your blood sugar isn’t controlled, you’re also more likely to get a yeast or urinary tract infection.
  • Weight gain/lose
  • Blurred vision
  • Reduced feeling in hands or feet
  • Irritability
  • Decreased healing nature of wounds
  • Skin infections and patches on the skin

Causes of Diabetes

Researchers do not know the exact reason behind causing diabetes and they know that inheriting certain genes from your family can raise your risk for developing diabetes. Some of the most common reason that causes diabetes is obesity and smoking. The more you smoke, the more chance to get diabetes and obesity is also a major cause for diabetes. Some of the causes are:

  • Obesity
  • Smoking
  • Family history of diabetes (parents or siblings)
  • Having a baby more than 4 kgs during pregnancy or hormonal changes during pregnancy
  • Alcohol abuse
  • Hormonal changes
  • Anxiety
  • Depression
  • Stress
  • High cholesterol
  • Less exercise
  • High blood pressure
  • Lifestyle factors

Treatment

Diabetes can be treated with medications by doctors. Some of these drugs are pills and some of them are injections. The drugs or medications that are prescribed by doctors depend upon the type of diabetes you have.

  • Type 1 diabetes: To treat this type of diabetes you need to take insulin through shots or an insulin pump. Insulin cannot be taken as a pill.
  • Type 2 diabetes: Maintaining blood sugar level is the treatment for this type and taking medicine to control your blood sugar. You will need to increase your medicines or start taking insulin shots to keep your diabetes in control.
  • Gestational diabetes: To treat this type of diabetes, you need to lower your blood sugar levels using insulin and it is safe for growing baby too.

Prevention

You can prevent diabetes by making some changes in your lifestyle but Type 1 diabetes cannot be prevented because it is caused by a problem with the immune system and some type 2 diabetes causes through genes and family history. These, we can control diabetes by making simple changes in our diet and fitness routine.

Some of the prevention methods are:

  • Having a regular exercise such as cycling, walking or jogging
  • Eating smaller portions than before you used too
  • Avoiding junk food
  • Eating fruits and vegetables
  • Decreasing your body weight
  • Say no sugary and processed food
  • Reducing stress
  • Keep your blood sugar under control

Conclusion:

Mostly diabetes can be treated with a little change in your daily routine on diet, physical activities, and other changes.

Type 1 diabetes cannot be cured because it is caused by a problem in your immune system and some type 2 diabetes which caused through genes or any family history of diabetes. Other than these two, the remaining type of diabetes can be cured. One of the major roles in preventing diabetes is to decrease your body weight.

If these changes don’t help you in decreasing diabetes, then it’s time to consult a doctor and follow the doctor’s advice for managing blood sugar levels.

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