Diabetes is a condition that can affect anyone, regardless of their age or their gender. Just because it is a little more common in men, does NOT mean as a woman you don’t need to be aware of it. This blog post will give you more information on type 2 diabetes in women.
About Diabetes and Women
Diabetes can affect both men and women, but there are some differences that occur when a woman gets type 2 diabetes. If you have signs and symptoms of this disease, or have recently been diagnosed, here are some things to know about having diabetes as a woman.
There Are Sexual Changes
Another way diabetes is different for women is that it can affect your sex life if you don’t manage it properly. You may notice changes in your sexual function from the nerve damage. Diabetes when not treated properly can ultimately lead to tingling and loss of feeling in various body parts, including your vaginal area. You may also have an increased amount of dryness in your vagina, which can also negatively impact your sex life. Additionally, common signs and symptoms for women with diabetes are increased infections like yeast infections, as well as urinary tract infections.
Higher Risk for PCOS
Diabetes can also affect women by creating a higher risk for conditions like PCOS. This stands for polycystic ovarian syndrome and is caused by irregular hormonal levels brought on by insulin resistance. As you know, insulin resistance can also lead to diabetes, which is why these two are linked so closely. PCOS can lead to infertility, weight gain, depression, and the symptoms of diabetes as well.
As a woman with diabetes, you also have all the same symptoms and dangers as men with this disease. You need to be concerned about foot problems, eye diseases like diabetic retinopathy, fatigue, weight fluctuations, dizziness, and nerve damage. It is important that you get treatment as soon as you are diagnosed with diabetes and that you listen to your doctor’s orders as far as treatments and lifestyle changes go. Whether you change your diet or have to take medications, it can help you deal with diabetes and avoid all the potential complications at the same time.
Unique Risk Factors for Women
Many of the risk factors of getting diabetes, both type 1 and type 2, are similar to men. However, there are some instances where as a woman, you might have some different risk factors. By knowing these risks, you have a good chance at avoiding diabetes, particularly with type 2 diabetes.
Type 1 Diabetes
The first type of diabetes you can get as a woman is type 1 diabetes. This is different than type 2 diabetes, therefore its risk factors and complications also tend to be different. Type 1 diabetes is the one you get most often as a child and were probably born with. This type of diabetes occurs when your pancreas doesn’t create enough insulin in your body. With this type of diabetes, you might have a family history of the disease, infections of your pancreas at a young age, or possibly other diseases of your pancreas that increased your risk.
Type 2 Diabetes
The next type of diabetes, which is the most common form, is type 2 diabetes. With type 2 diabetes, you have too much sugar in your blood. It is sometimes called having insulin resistance. This is the type of diabetes that has more risk factors and that you can get at any age. There is definitely a higher risk if diabetes runs in your family, you are born insulin resistant, or you are overweight.
Other risk factors for this form of diabetes include having a glucose intolerance, following a high-sugar diet, or having an ethnic background. It does tend to be more common with women who are African American, Hispanic, or Native American, though anyone can get it. If you have PCOS or are over 45 years old, you are also at a higher risk for type 2 diabetes.
The final type of diabetes you might get if you are a woman is gestational diabetes. This type of diabetes also causes an increase of blood glucose levels, except it only occurs during pregnancy. You may not have diabetes before or after your pregnancy, but will need to monitor your diabetes during your pregnancy for the health of you and your baby. Some risk factors for gestational diabetes include being older when you get pregnant, having a family history of diabetes, being overweight, and having high blood pressure or high cholesterol. Make sure you have your blood glucose monitored by a doctor if you are diagnosed with gestational diabetes.
If you are a woman with diabetes, it is essential that you see your doctor regularly and follow all recommendations to help manage the disease. You also need to be aware of the potential complications, which are much more common if you don’t follow your doctor’s orders. Here are some complications to be aware of.
Damage to your eyes and vision is a considerably risk and potential complication when you have diabetes. Unfortunately, this is one of the more common complications that can occur, but you can prevent it by monitoring your blood sugar closely and following all of your doctor’s treatment plans. The main eye condition to be concerned about is called diabetic retinopathy, which can ultimately lead to blindness. You also have a higher risk for cataracts and other eye-related diseases.
Nerve and Foot Complications
Both nerve and foot damage are persistent complications of people with diabetes. When you think of someone with diabetes, you might think of someone who has lost their foot or both feet. This is a more severe complication, but one that is a risk with people who don’t manage their diabetes like they should. You may also get nerve damage in the form of losing feeling in one of your limbs or getting neuropathy, which is numbness in your feet. This can severely affect your quality of life and even cause pain.