Signs of diabetes in women

Women & diabetes

Diabetes mellitus is a metabolic disease that occurs when your blood sugar or glucose is too high (hyperglycemia). Glucose is what the body uses for fuel, and the pancreas produces a hormone called insulin that helps convert the glucose in the food you eat into energy. When the body doesn't produce enough insulin - or any at all - the sugar doesn't reach your cells to be converted into energy. This can result in type 1 or type 2 diabetes.

CDC estimated that 30 million (or 9.4 percent of the US population), and 7.2 million Americans do not even know if they have diabetes.

See: Diabetes Type 2 diet meal plan

There are two main diabetes types:

a) Type 1 diabetes is an autoimmune condition. The body doesn't produce insulin as the body's immune system destroys cells that produce insulin in the pancreas called beta cells.

b) Type 2 diabetes is a medical condition where cells can't use blood sugar (glucose) effectively for energy. This happens when blood glucose gets too high with time, and the cells become insensitive to insulin.

Prediabetes is a condition that often precedes type 2 diabetes. Prediabetes occurs when your blood glucose is greater than normal, but not quite high enough to be diagnosed with diabetes. Prediabetes doesn't usually have any symptoms, so there might be no warning signals. Only a blood test can confirm prediabetes.

Over 84 million American adults have prediabetes, and a whopping 90 percent of people do not know they have it. If a person doesn't alter their lifestyle and diet, prediabetes can become type 2 diabetes within five years. Women with diabetes have more to handle. Stay on track by assessing your blood glucose frequently, eating healthy meals, and being active to feel your very best.


See: Moringa Powder Benefits For Diabetes

Diabetes symptoms in women

How is diabetes differ for women than it is for men? Diabetes can increase the risk of heart disease by about 4x in women but only about 2x in men. What's more,  women have worse outcomes after a heart attack. Women are also at greater risk of additional diabetes-related complications like blindness, kidney disease, and depression.

Not only is diabetes distinct for women, but it is also different among women as well -African American, Hispanic/Latina, American Indian/Alaska NativeAmerican, and Asian/Pacific Islander women are more likely to have diabetes than white women.

How you manage diabetes might want to change over time based on what's happening in your life.  What are the early signs & symptoms and signs in diabetic women? Many diabetes symptoms are the same in women and men - but there are a few signs and complications of diabetes unique to women.


1. Yeast/Urinary Tract Infections

Women may get a vaginal yeast infection at some point, but women with diabetes are at greater risk, especially if their glucose levels are high. A UTI occurs when bacteria enter somewhere in the urinary tract, such as the urethra, ureters, kidneys, or bladder. They are more common in women than in men and more often in people with diabetes.  High glucose levels and poor circulation reduces your body's ability to fight infections. Also, some women have bladders that don't drain all of the ways due to diabetes, creating a perfect environment for bacteria to grow.

To prevent yeast infections and UTIs, you can try to keep your blood glucose levels as close to your target range as possible. Other strategies to prevent UTIs include drinking a lot of water and urinating often.


2. Oral thrush - also called oral candidiasis - is a condition in which the fungus Candida albicans accumulates on the inner lining of the mouth. It is normal for Candida to be in your mouth, but occasionally it can overgrow and cause undesired symptoms.

Oral thrush can cause creamy white lesions on your tongue or inner cheeks. Oral thrush may also spread to the roof of your mouth, your gums or tonsils, or the back of your throat. Signs of oral thrush include:

White patches in the mouth

Redness and soreness

Trouble eating or swallowing

Swollen red gums or inner lips


3. PCOS or Polycystic Ovary Syndrome: This can cause symptoms and signs such as irregular periods, excess hair growth on the face/body, acne, and thinning hair. High insulin levels also increase the chance of developing diabetes, and about half of women with PCOS develop diabetes.

See: Diet therapy for PCOS


4. Menstrual Cycle

Changes in hormone levels before and during your period can make glucose levels hard to forecast. You might also have longer or heavier periods, and food cravings may make managing diabetes tougher. You might see a pattern over time, or you can realize that each and every period differs.

Correlate your blood sugar with any pattern. Becoming busy on many days, eating healthy food in the appropriate amounts, and getting enough sleep can all help also.


5. A decrease in sexual drive

Diabetes can lower your interest in sex as well as your capacity to enjoy it. For many women, vaginal dryness may make sex uncomfortable or even painful. Causes may include nerve damage, reduced blood flow, drugs, and hormonal changes, including those during pregnancy or menopause.

Women with diabetes may experience Lower sex drive (libido), blood circulation problems to the genital area, which may decrease sexual response and orgasm, and nerve damage (diabetic neuropathy) that can lead to vaginal dryness and decreased sensation.


6. Diabetes & Pregnancy

Diabetes does not have to impact the outcome of a pregnancy if it is correctly controlled. Women with diabetes should speak with their doctor when planning to conceive so that they can manage to get glucose levels under control before getting pregnant. You'll have to know how to track and control your diabetes and blood glucose levels.

If your blood sugar levels are high during pregnancy, there are dangers to both the mother & child. High blood sugar levels are harmful in many ways and can result in premature delivery, difficult delivery, or even miscarriage. 


7. Gestational diabetes: high Blood glucose during pregnancy--may develop in women who previously had no diabetic condition. Any woman can have gestational diabetes, but a few are at higher risk, such as those that are overweight or have obesity, are greater than 25 years old, or have a family history of type 2 diabetes. Careful management is very important to ensure a healthy pregnancy and a healthy baby.

See: Diet plan for gestational diabetes in third trimester

If you are diagnosed with gestational diabetes, your doctor will work with you to make a treatment plan to help keep your blood glucose in your target range. This will be done typically by eating healthy foods in moderation and being active most days of the week. 

Gestational diabetes usually goes away after your baby's birth. However, about 50 percent of women with gestational diabetes develop type 2 diabetes later. It is critical to get tested for diabetes to 12 weeks after delivery and every 1 to 3 years thereafter to ensure that your glucose levels are normal. 


8. Menopause

After menopause, your body makes less estrogen, the female hormone, which may result in sudden increase & decrease in blood sugar levels. You may also gain weight, which worsens the condition. Night sweats may disrupt your sleep, which makes handling blood glucose harder. This is also a time when sexual issues may occur, such as vaginal dryness or neurological damage.

Heart disease risk increases after menopause, so managing your diabetes and heart health is wise, like eating healthy food and being active.


See: Are bananas good for diabetics?


See: Learn Plant Based Diet Benefits for Diabetes

Common diabetes signs and symptoms

There are many diabetes symptoms that both men and women have in common:

- Excessive thirst and appetite

- Frequent urination

- Blurred vision

- Fatigue

- Irritability

- Slow-healing wounds

- Nausea

- Skin ailments

- Weight loss

- Tingling or numbness in the hands or feet

See: Acupuncture treatment for diabetes type 2

Complications in women with diabetes symptoms

Some diabetes complications are the same, such as eye, skin, circulation, low blood glucose (hypoglycemia), higher blood glucose (hyperglycemia), ketoacidosis, and risk of amputation.

Men, women, and kids can develop diabetes, but the disease can pose problems that are worse for women. A 2007 research study found that from1971 to 2000, death rates for men with diabetes decreased, but not for women.

Generally, women live longer than men do because they have a lower risk of cardiovascular disease. That dramatically changes when women develop diabetes, as their risk for heart disease increases. 

Other conditions resulting from complications from diabetes affects women differently than men. Examples include:

- Bipolar disorder, a complication of type 1 and type 2 diabetes, affects women more than men.

- Depression is twice as common in diabetic women vs. men.

- Diabetic women are more prone to poor blood glucose control (which can result in hyperglycemia and hypoglycemia), obesity, high blood pressure, and higher cholesterol than men.


Several reasons are suggested why both type 1 and Type 2 diabetes may affect women more radically than diabetic men:

In women, the HDL or good cholesterol levels fall, which leads to higher heart disease risk, they have less estrogen, and reduced levels of estrogen are associated with kidney disease. Women with diabetes may receive less powerful healthcare, especially for cardiovascular disease and heart disease risk factors. Women with diabetes frequently have polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS), which is a risk factor for diabetes and could lead to problems getting pregnant.

See: Nutritional Supplements for Diabetes

Risk factors of women with diabetes symptoms

Risk Factors For Diabetic Women

Women with the following characteristics have higher risk factors:

· 45 years or older

· Obese or overweight

· High blood pressure

· Family history of diabetes, heart disease

· PCOS

· Gestational diabetes during pregnancy

· Sedentary lifestyle

· Particular race (African American, Native Alaskan, Native American, Asian-American or Pacific Islander)

See: Best Foods For Diabetics & Shopping List

Summary

There are many unique type 2 diabetes signs & symptoms in women. You should get yourself checked out by a doctor as soon as you sense any of the symptoms that can put you at risk at any stage of your life. You can change your diet and lifestyle. Diet & exercise plays an important role in combating diabetes. Reduce your carbohydrate intake, such as bread & rice. Load up on fruits & veggies. Substitute bad fat with good fats like avocados. Walking or exercising in the mornings or evenings will help. 

See: Stop and Reverse Diabetes Type 2 With Diet Therapy

References

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2. Diabetes symptoms. (2018). diabetes.org/diabetes-basics/symptoms/

3. Gestational diabetes. (2017). acog.org/Patients/FAQs/Gestational-Diabetes?IsMobileSet=false

4. Preventing type 2 diabetes. (2016). niddk.nih.gov/health-information/diabetes/overview/preventing-type-2-diabetes

5. Nitzan, et al. (2015). Urinary tract infections in patients with type 2 diabetes mellitus: a review of prevalence, diagnosis, and management.

ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4346284/

6. Paschou, S. A. (2018). Diabetes in menopause: Risks and management [Abstract]. 

eurekaselect.com/163207/article

7. Polycystic ovarian syndrome. (2014). 

diabetes.org/living-with-diabetes/treatment-and-care/women/polycystic-ovarian-syndrome.html

8. Casqueiro, J. et al. (2012). Infections in patients with diabetes mellitus: A review of pathogenesis.

ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3354930/

9. Logue, J., et al. (2011). Do men develop type 2 diabetes at lower body mass indices than women? [Abstract]. 

link.springer.com/article/10.1007%2Fs00125-011-2313-3

10. Standards of medical care in diabetes — 2019 abridged for primary care providers. (2019). 

clinical.diabetesjournals.org/content/diaclin/early/2018/12/16/cd18-0105.full.pdf

11. Wilmot, E., & Idris, I. (2014). Early-onset type 2 diabetes: Risk factors, clinical impact, and management.

ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4205573/

12. National diabetes statistics report, 2017. (2017). cdc.gov/diabetes/pdfs/data/statistics/national-diabetes-statistics-report.pdf

13. Polycystic ovary syndrome. (2019). womenshealth.gov/a-z-topics/polycystic-ovary-syndrome

See: How Adding Fiber in your Diet Helps Type 2 Diabetes

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