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The disease itself may not discriminate on the gender basis, but when it comes to healthcare for patients with diabetes, women find themselves at a disadvantage as compared to men. Studies indicate that diabetes, a disease that affects over 371 million people worldwide takes a greater toll on women than men. Though, hormones in women do account for some of the unique challenges they have to face, but there are other societal factors as well that bring in the differences.
This World Diabetes Day, is about promoting the significance of affordable care for diabetes and equitable access for all women at risk or living with diabetes to essential medicines, technological information and self-management education they require and achieve optimal outcome to strengthen their adequacy to prevent type-2 diabetes. Because, It's your right to a healthy and disease free future!
So, how will you know if you are suffering from this deadly disease – Diabetes?
Women with diabetes experience many of the same symptoms as that of men. However, there are some that are specific to women.
Symptoms experienced by both women and men:
- Frequent urination
- Increased thirst and hunger
- Unnecessary weight loss or gain
- Blurred vision
- Wounds that heal slowly
- Skin infections
- Breath that has a sweet or fruity odor
- Reduced feeling in hands or feet
Symptoms unique to women:
- Vaginal yeast infections
- Urinary infections
- Vaginal thrush
- Polycystic ovary syndrome
- Female sexual dysfunction
Diabetes is the ninth leading cause of death in women globally, causing 2.1 million deaths each year. Two out of every five women suffering from diabetes are of reproductive age. Women with diabetes have more difficulty conceiving and may have poor pregnancy outcomes.
Diabetes and Pregnancy
The affect of Diabetes, in a pregnancy will not be great, if controlled properly. Women with diabetes should talk to their gynaecologist while planning to conceive so that they can control their blood sugar levels even before getting pregnant. Your gynaecologist will help you control and monitor your diabetes and blood sugar levels during pregnancy.
And, if you fail to get your blood sugar levels under control during pregnancy, you may experience severe risks:
- Premature delivery
- Difficult delivery or cesarean section (C-section)
- Birth defects
- Having a large baby
- Preeclampsia (high blood pressure usually with protein in the urine)
- Low blood glucose in a newborn
- Breathing problems in the newborn
- Yellowing skin and eyes (jaundice) in a newborn
- Worsening diabetic eye problems and kidney problems for the mother
- Urinary or bladder infections
What is Gestational Diabetes?
When diabetes occurs in women during pregnancy, it is called gestational diabetes. It is usually diagnosed at the first week of pregnancy. Like in type 1 and type 2 diabetes, blood sugar levels become too high. When a woman is pregnant, more glucose is required to nourish the baby developing inside her womb. During this time, the body needs more insulin, which is produced by the pancreas. In some women, the body does not produce enough insulin to meet this need, and blood sugar levels rise, resulting in gestational diabetes.
Fortunately, for most women, gestational diabetes will go away once the baby is delivered. However, women who have had gestational diabetes are at increased risk for developing type-2 diabetes. Further, people suffering from PTSD are in high risk group, and should consult their doctor immediately and those who are presently, affected with Diabetes should consult for pre-conception consultation.
Risk Factors for Diabetes in Women
You are at risk for type-2 diabetes if you:
- are overweight or obese
- are older than 45
- have a family history of diabetes (parent or sibling)
- have had gestational diabetes
- have had a baby with a birth weight of more than 9 pounds
- have high blood pressure
- have high cholesterol
- have other health conditions that are linked to problems using insulin, such as PCOS
Diabetes Treatment Options
There are various medications you can take to control the symptoms of diabetes. These include:
- Insulin therapy
- Sulfonylureas like chlorpropamide, which increase pancreatic insulin secretion
- Metformin (Glucophage), which reduces blood sugar
A change in your diet and lifestyle can also help women control their diabetes
- Exercise and maintain a healthy weight
- Monitor your blood sugar
- Eat a diet focused on fruits, vegetables, and whole grains
- Strictly avoid smoking cigarettes
Women with diabetes can try other alternative remedies to treat the symptoms, such as
- Eat more broccoli, buckwheat, sage, peas, and fenugreek seeds
- Take supplements like chromium or magnesium
- Take plant supplements
But, always remember to consult with your doctor before trying any new treatment. Even if they are natural, they can intrude with your on-going treatment or medications. So, this World Diabetes Day, take a pledge towards healthy living... because your health is important to someone else! In case you have a concern or query you can always consult an expert & get answers to your questions!
Diabetes is growing to be the epidemic of modern days. The challenge here is it is not just about managing your sugar levels, but the whole lot of symptoms that diabetes brings with it. From bones to teeth to kidneys to wounds, diabetes affects all body systems. It is therefore very essential to watch out for symptoms of diabetes and curb it in its early stages. This will help control diabetes significantly along with its effects on the whole body.
Long-term complications of diabetes develop gradually. The longer you have diabetes — and the less controlled your blood sugar — the higher the risk of complications. Eventually, diabetes complications may be disabling or even life-threatening. Possible complications include:
- Cardiovascular disease. Diabetes dramatically increases the risk of various cardiovascular problems, including coronary artery disease with chest pain (angina), heart attack, stroke and narrowing of arteries (atherosclerosis). If you have diabetes, you are more likely to have heart disease or stroke.
- Nerve damage. Excess sugar can injure the walls of the tiny blood vessels (capillaries) that nourish your nerves, especially in your legs. This can cause tingling, numbness, burning or pain. Left untreated, you could lose all sense of feeling in the affected limbs.
- Kidney damage. The kidneys contain millions of tiny blood vessel clusters (glomeruli) that filter waste from your blood. Diabetes can damage this delicate filtering system. Severe damage can lead to kidney failure or irreversible end-stage kidney disease, which may require dialysis or a kidney transplant.
- Eye damage. Diabetes can damage the blood vessels of the retina (diabetic retinopathy), potentially leading to blindness.
- Foot damage. Nerve damage in the feet or poor blood flow to the feet increases the risk of various foot complications. These infections may ultimately require toe, foot or leg amputation.
- Skin conditions. Diabetes may leave you more susceptible to skin problems, including bacterial and fungal infections.
- Hearing impairment. Hearing problems are more common in people with diabetes.
- Alzheimer's disease. Type 2 diabetes may increase the risk of Alzheimer's disease.
The following are some of the basic must do's if you have diabetes. These can go a long way in preventing adverse diabetic side effects.
- Diet: Whether diabetic or not, it is always important to watch your diet. You are what you eat. Eat what your body needs, reduce refined foods, processed foods and increase the amount of whole grains and fruits and vegetables. Eating small frequent meals goes a long way in managing sugar levels than binging at one meal and starving the rest of the day. Reduce intake of saturated fats; include more lean meats. Choose grilling and steaming over frying and roasting. Diet is very important in diabetes. Recommended foods - Healthy carbohydrates, Fiber-rich foods, Heart-healthy fish and Good fats. Foods to avoid - Saturated fats, Trans fats, Cholesterol and Sodium
- Exercise: Every week, make sure about 2 hours is dedicated to physical activity. This could include any exercise of your choice, brisk walking, swimming, cycling, aerobics, hiking, jogging, skipping, gymnastics, or playing games like football or basketball. While in most cases, the person can do these on their own, in some people, supervision may be required.
- Watch your weight: For a diabetic person, controlling weight to a desirable level of BMI of 18 and 23 is very important. Obesity is one of the predisposing factors for diabetes, and reducing weight controls the onset of diabetes and helps the progression of symptoms in diabetics.
- Smoking: Another risk factor for diabetes onset, quitting is the best option. If not feasible, reducing smoking and gradually quitting should be aimed at. Not just diabetes, the effects on overall health will be evident almost immediately after quitting.
- Stress management: One of the main risk factors for diabetes, there is no getting away from stress. Everybody has their stresses but the trick is to manage it well. Whether it is music or meditation or medication or counselling, make sure stress levels are managed. This also helps prevent diabetic complications like heart disease and stroke and promotes well-being.
- Constant Checkups: Periodic check-up of blood sugar levels, cholesterol levels, eye exam, dental checkup, foot checkup to test for nerve damage are all extremely important. Take your medications regularly without fail.
Diabetes requires a change in lifestyle, which may seem tedious initially. But after a while, it will become the norm and then diabetic control does not feel like something additional that is to be done. In case you have a concern or query you can always consult an expert & get answers to your questions!
Your nourishment decisions matter a great deal when you have diabetes. Some are superior to anything others. Nothing is totally beyond reach. Indeed, even things that you may consider as 'the most exceedingly bad' could be periodic treats, in minor sums. Yet, they won't help you nutrition wise and it's least demanding to deal with your diabetes on the off chance that you for the most part adhere to the 'best' choices.
1. Dark chocolate: Chocolate happens to be rich in flavonoids and examination demonstrates that these supplements lessen insulin resistance, enhance insulin affectability and gruff yearnings. Be that as it may, not all chocolate is made equivalent. In a recent report from the Copenhagen University, individuals who ate dim chocolate made the report that they had the feeling more or less like eating some sweets and salty, or greasy foods contrasted with volunteers given milk chocolate, with its lower levels of useful flavonoids (and, regularly, more sugar and fat, as well).
2. Broccoli: Broccoli is hostile to diabetes. Likewise with different cruciferous veggies, similar to cauliflower and kale, it has one compound that is called as sulforaphane, which triggers a few calming forms that enhance blood sugar control and shield blood vessels from the cardiovascular harm that is regularly a result of diabetes.
3. Blueberries: Blueberries truly standout, they have both fiber that is insoluble (that 'flushes' out fat of the framework you have) and solvent fiber (which backs off the purging of your stomach and enhances blood sugar control).
4. Oats: You may not consider oatmeal a superfood, but rather it can lessen the danger of creating sort 2 diabetes. Oatmeal contains high measures of magnesium, which helps the body use glucose and discharge insulin appropriately. An eight-year trial demonstrated a 19 percent decrease in sort 2 diabetes' danger in ladies with a magnesium-rich diet, and a 31 percent decreased danger in ladies who consistently ate entire grains.
5. Fish: Fish is a thinning star, rich in protein, it will keep you fulfilled; additionally, it contains an extraordinary kind of fat that cools inflammation. Thousands of studies demonstrate that individuals with the most astounding blood levels of omega-3 unsaturated fats have less extensive inflammation, the very inflammation that prompts and compounds diabetes and weight issues.
In case you have a concern or query you can always consult an expert & get answers to your questions!