Diabetes in Women

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There are two stages in a woman’s life in which they are more likely to suffer from diabetes, these are: pregnancy (gestational diabetes) and menopause. According to recent studies, diabetes type 2 is becoming one of the most common diseases among women. In fact, it is considered to be the fourth cause of mortality among them. Some of the main symptoms of diabetes are:

  • Weight Loss

It is very common in diabetes type I, even with a relatively normal diet. In this type, our body cannot use glucose properly since the pancreas has stopped producing the insulin needed for glucose to enter cells, so the body removes unusable glucose (and calories) through urine.

  • Continuous Need to Use the Bathroom

 This is another characteristic symptom of diabetes since our body tries to get rid of the excess sugar via urination.

  • Dehydration

This happens precisely because of the previous symptom. By going to the bathroom so many times to urinate, we not only eliminate sugar, but also water. Slowly, the body dehydrates, which can be dangerous.

  • Feeling Hungry Often

Also called polyphagia, it happens with diabetes type II. This happen because the level of insulin is very high in the body so there is a decompensation that causes excessive hunger.

  • Sexual Problems

With diabetes, you can experience hormonal and sexual issues, including a decrease of interest in having sex due to depression or fatigue. Women with this issue can also experience painful sexual intercourse due to vaginal dryness.

  • Infection

A very characteristic symptom in women. It can appear on the skin, genitalia and the urinary tract.

It is true that diabetes can appear at any time in a woman’s life, but as mentioned before, there are two periods in a woman’s life in which they are more likely to suffer from it.

During Pregnancy

It’s also known as gestational diabetes. During the development of the fetus, the woman’s body experiences various metabolic changes, requiring more energy for the gestation of the child and thus, increasing the level of insulin in the blood. This doesn’t necessarily cause serious issues during pregnancy. However, it is possible that if the mother suffers from diabetes during pregnancy, the child may be born obese. With more pregnancies, there is also a very high risk of gestational diabetes eventually occurring, with a 65% chance that diabetes type II will end up developing.

Some factors that can influence women from suffering gestational diabetes are: being over 30 years old, if there is a family history with diabetes and if they are overweight.

Menopause

Menopause may last for over ten years in a woman’s life, beginning when the body begins to lower its production of estrogen and progesterone (the main female hormones). Due to these hormonal changes, glucose control begins to diminish, increasing insulin sensitivity and a reduction of estrogen, causing not only diabetes, but also cardiovascular problems.

Diabetes type I can appear at any age, but it is most common for it to be diagnosed in children. The exact cause is unknown, but it is thought that it may be due to genetic factors. The body doesn’t produce enough insulin, so patients end up needing daily injections of this hormone to compensate.

Diabetes type II is the most common form of diabetes, which appears mostly in adulthood. It occurs mainly due to unhealthy habits such as a sedentary lifestyle, poor diet and obesity. Until a few years ago, it was very common in the adult population, but lately it also appears in children and adolescents. With the advent of the fast food industry (foods are very high in fat) and a decrease in exercising habits, obesity if much more prominent. It is therefore necessary to begin to change these habits and maintain an ideal weight.

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