Womens Health

Diabetes In Women

Although being female does not necessarily increase your chances of developing Type 2 Diabetes, it may affect both the progression of the disease as well as how your body reacts to it. If you are at particular risk of developing Type 2 Diabetes it is crucial to your future health to minimize the chances by keeping your body at a good weight, eating well and exercising regularly. Women with Type 2 diabetes are much more likely to suffer a heart attack at a younger age than their counterparts without diabetes. Additionally, diabetes is 2-4 times higher among African American, Hispanic, American Indian and Asian or Pacific Islander women than white women, and increases as a woman ages. Today, nearly ten million women in the United States have Type 2 Diabetes, leaving them vulnerable to cardiovascular disease and blindness, as well as a myriad of other complications.

The Silent Condition

Type 2 Diabetes is known as a "silent" condition because it can do damage to your body before you experience specific symptoms. Of the nearly 21 million Americans who currently have type 2 Diabetes, over six million of those don't know they have it. Some common symptoms of Type 2 Diabetes include being more thirsty than normal, feeling more hungry, or tire, than normal, needing to urinate more than usual, particularly at night, blurry vision, sores that don't heal, or unplanned weight loss. Many people experience no symptoms at all until the Type 2 diabetes is in full-swing, however higher-than-normal blood sugar levels do damage at the microvascular level, whether you feel it or not.

How Type 2 Diabetes May Affect You at Different Times in Your Life

Once puberty kick-starts the hormonal swing, blood glucose levels tend to be harder to control, and a woman's menstrual cycle can wreak total havoc with blood sugar levels in teens and young women. Once a woman is in full-swing reproductive years, Type 2 Diabetes can cause an increase in yeast infections as the excess glucose tends to trigger yeast overgrowth. During this time in your life, when choosing a contraceptive you must be aware that birth control pills can raise your blood glucose levels, putting you at a higher risk of complications. Type 2 Diabetes can make the mom-to-be have a harder time keeping blood sugars in the normal range and can affect the fetus as well; it is especially important during this time to do your best to control your Type 2 Diabetes to avoid high blood pressure, birth defects or a baby with an extremely high birth weight.

Type 2 Diabetes may also contribute to infertility, as many women who have PCOS, also have diabetes. Although researchers have not yet found a definitive connection but do believe the diabetes directly relates to infertility. Once you begin perimenopause, Type 2 Diabetes can cause severe blood sugar swings in some women; because this is typically the time when many women begin to gain weight and become less physically active, symptoms of Type 2 Diabetes make become more severe, and blood sugar harder to control. If you have Type 2 Diabetes and are also overweight, your estrogen levels tend to drop much more slowly, which could cause you to go into full-blown menopause later than you would have otherwise.

The Takeaway Message of Type 2 Diabetes

You should be well-aware of your risk factors regarding Type 2 Diabetes, and get screened even if you don't feel any different. If you: exercise fewer than three times a week, have a sibling or parent with type 1 or 2 diabetes, had gestational diabetes, gave birth to a baby that weighed more than nine pounds, have been diagnosed with PCOS, have been told you had higher-than-normal blood sugar levels, have a history or heart disease or high blood pressure, have HDL levels below 35 mg/dl or triglyceride levels above 250 mg/dl, then you should definitely have a Type 2 Diabetes screening. Take control of your health and realize that Type 2 Diabetes can lead to serious consequences for women.

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