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Diabetes - How It Affects a Woman's Health?

Written and reviewed by
MS - Obstetrics and Gynaecology
Gynaecologist, Chennai  •  16 years experience
Diabetes - How It Affects a Woman's Health?

Are you a woman suffering from diabetes? Diabetes is a group of metabolic diseases in which your blood sugar levels shoot up because of problems in the processing and production of insulin. Diabetes occurs in both men and women. However, there are some primary differences and contrasts between diabetes in men and in women.

Symptoms
The symptoms of diabetes in women are almost the same as those in men, except for some unique symptoms pertaining only to women, which include the following:

  1. Development of oral and vaginal yeast infections, along with vaginal thrush
  2. Urinary infections
  3. Sexual dysfunction
  4. Development of polycystic ovary syndrome

The common, general symptoms found in both men and women include a frequent urge for urination, enhanced hunger and thirst, fatigue, blurry vision, and sudden gain or loss of weight without obvious causes. Skin infections, irritability, nausea, darkening of skin in patches, a reduced feeling in the hands and feet are other general symptoms.

Diabetes and pregnancy
Type 1 and Type 2 diabetes

If you are pregnant and have diabetes, you should consult your doctor to know about the best ways of managing your health, and the health of your baby. It is important to track down your blood glucose levels before and during your pregnancy. While you are pregnant, glucose and ketones reach your baby via the placenta, and the baby utilizes this as energy. As such, too high glucose levels may leave your baby at risk.

Gestational diabetes
This form of diabetes occurs in 9% of pregnancies in which the pregnancy hormones interfere with how insulin works. This results in the body making more insulin. In some women, the insulin produced is not enough and therefore, gestational diabetes develops.
Risk factors

Women are more prone to diabetes when the following factors are present:

  1. If you are above the age of 45
  2. If you are obese and have a family history of diabetes
  3. If you gave birth to a baby who weighed more than nine pounds
  4. If you have hypertension or high blood pressure, and high cholesterol
  5. If you are not into any form of exercise
  6. If you suffer from other health conditions, which are linked with insulin problems like PCOS or polycystic ovarian syndrome, or are having a history of stroke and heart diseases

There are certain prominent differences between diabetes occurring in men and women. Women receive less aggressive treatment for other conditions associated with diabetes. The complications caused in women because of diabetes are more challenging to diagnose properly. Moreover, the hormones and inflammation also work differently in the case of women. If you wish to discuss about any specific problem, you can consult a Gynaecologist.

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