Being called sweet can be extremely flattering especially for girls, but when that level of sweetness (glucose) increases in your blood, it makes life bittersweet. The disease in which your body doesn’t make insulin or doesn’t properly make use of it, and leads to an increase in the level of glucose in the bloodstream is known as diabetes.
Diabetes can affect both men and women, but its effect on women is more severe. One out of nine women can be affected by diabetes. There are 3 main types of diabetes that can affect you in your lifetime:
1. Type 1 diabetes
2. Type 2 diabetes
3. Gestational diabetes
Type 1 Diabetes Risk Factor
It is an autoimmune disease wherein the body’s immune system attacks the pancreatic cell that produces insulin. You would need to take a daily shot of insulin to combat this pressing issue.
· It afflicts mostly during your childhood and adolescent years.
Type 2 Diabetes Risk Factor
· Older than 45 years of age.
· High blood pressure of 140/90 mm of Hg.
· High cholesterol.
· Family history.
· Having a baby weighing more than 9 pounds.
· Women suffering from Polycystic Ovary Syndrome (PCOS)
· Inactive lifestyle
· Lack of adequate sleep
· Having an African, Asian, Hispanic, Native American, Native Hawaiin or Pacific Island background.
Symptoms For Diabetes
· More urination
· Always hungrier even after eating
· Sores and infections that take more time to heal
· Blurry eyesight
· Infections like a vaginal yeast infection and UTI
· Dry and itchy skin
· Weight loss
· Sexual difficulties
Prediabetes is a condition in which your blood sugar levels are higher than normal but lower than the diabetes level. Few lifestyle changes can save you from life-long problems. The symptoms of type 1 diabetes develop more rapidly than people suffering from type 2 diabetes.
How Diabetes Effect Women
· Vaginal infection
Diabetic women have an increased chance of catching yeast infection in the vagina, as it creates a conducive environment for the fungus Candida to breed. Increased vaginal discharge, vaginal itch, and painful intercourse are some of the symptoms.
· Urinary Tract Infection (UTI)
UTI-burning and painful sensation while urinating, cloudy urine and blood in the urine, are the symptoms- and it can happen to any woman, but those with diabetes have a higher risk of developing it. If you have UTI, you should immediately consult a doctor, as there is a greater chance of it turning into much severe kidney problems.
Those women who have a family history, prediabetes or diabetes have a greater chance of having PCOS, which causes irregular menstruation, infertility and a lot of other related symptoms.
· Problems during menopause
Menopause can increase a woman’s chances of having diabetes or those who are already diagnosed with hyperglycemia, can have the symptoms of menopause manifold. Also, a change in the levels of the hormone can make the blood sugar level erratic.
· Cardiac problems
Diabetic women have twice the chance of having cardiac problems as compared to men. Heart attack, strokes are extremely common due to the narrowing of blood vessels because of inflammation. Lower survival rates and poorer quality of life post-cardiac problems are common among females.
Nerve damage is common for people suffering from diabetes, and it can lead to tingling sensations in hands and feet. It also makes sex painful and difficult as there is a loss of sensation down there.
· Loss of libido
Vaginal dryness, fatigue, and pain in the vagina makes a woman lose interest in having intercourse. Many women complain of not climaxing.
Women have an increased chance of having mental health problems than their male counterparts. Diabetes increases the chances of depression more.
· Oral problem
Dental thrush is one of the earliest symptoms of diabetes. You might notice white patches inside the mouth, redness, and trouble in eating and swallowing along with swollen gum.
The body needs to produce an increased quantity of glucose to sustain the growing fetus when a woman is pregnant. About 10% of women develop a case of gestational diabetes. Often this kind of diabetes ceases after delivery but it also increases the chance of developing type 2 diabetes later in life.
Women who are above the age of 25, are obese, have a predisposition to diabetes, and have any of the other risk factors for type 2 diabetes. Since the symptoms of pregnancy and diabetes are the same, it is often easy to remain undiagnosed. The problems that may arise when an expectant mother has gestational diabetes are:
· Difficulty in labour
· Increased chance of having a C-section
· Heavy bleeding during delivery
· Vaginal tear
· Premature labour
The baby may be born with certain complications like:
· Respiratory issue
· Low blood glucose level
Regular check-ups need to be done on pregnant women to determine whether they are susceptible to this condition. Consult an endocrinologist and your gynaecologist, have a healthy diet and maintain optimum body weight.
Post-delivery have regular check-ups for blood sugar, get back to your pre-pregnancy weight and try to breastfeed your child as it will help to burn calories.
If you have been diagnosed with diabetes and are looking forward to conceiving, then you should consult with your doctor on a regular basis. Proper diet and exercise along with prescribed medication can help you have a safe pregnancy.
Ways To Keep Blood Sugar Levels In Check
Amp up your external sweetness while you reduce the internal glucose content in the bloodstream. Medications should be your last resort since diabetes medicine can have a long term effect on your body. So try some natural methods and dietary changes to keep diabetes at bay.
· Regular exercise
· Low carb and high fibre diet
· Drink 3 to 4 litres of water daily
· Portion control-smaller plate, chewing food slowly and maintaining a food journal
· Meditate to keep stress in control
· Adequate sleep
· Incorporate Apple Cider Vinegar, fenugreek and cinnamon extract in your diet
· Have whole fruits in moderate quantity instead of juice of the same, apart from pineapple and melons.
· Legumes, leafy green vegetables, nuts, whole grain, oats, garlic, lean fish, and yoghurt have a low glycemic index.