Friday, November 27, 2020

HEALTHIER YOU: Women and diabetes

November 16, 2020 by  
Filed under Health

Women and diabetes

BY DR. ANNETTE MAYES, OB/GYN

DR. ANNETTE MAYES

Women with diabetes have more to manage. They have to stay on track by checking their blood sugar more often, eating healthy and staying active.

Diabetes affects women differently. Diabetes increases the risk of heart disease (the most common diabetes complication) by about four times in women but only about two times in men, and women have worse outcomes after a heart attack. Women are also at higher risk of other diabetes-related complications such as blindness, kidney disease, and depression.

Not only is diabetes different for women, there are also racial and ethnic factors: African-American, Hispanic/Latina, American Indian/Alaska Native, and Asian/Pacific Islander women are more likely to have diabetes than white women.

Many women will get a vaginal yeast infection at some point, but women with diabetes are at higher risk — especially if their blood sugar levels are high. More than 50% of women will get a urinary tract infection (UTI) in their lifetime, and your risk may be higher if you have diabetes. Causes include high blood sugar levels and poor circulation (which reduces your body’s ability to fight infections). Also, some women have bladders that don’t empty all the way because of diabetes, creating a perfect environment for bacteria to grow.

To prevent yeast infections and UTIs, keep your blood sugar levels as close to your target range as possible. Other ways to prevent UTI’s: drink lots of water, wear cotton underwear, and urinate often instead of waiting until your bladder is full.

Changes in hormone levels right before and during your period can make blood sugar levels hard to predict. You may also have longer or heavier periods, and food cravings can make managing diabetes harder. You may notice a pattern over time or you may find that every period is different.

Diabetes can lower your interest in sex and your ability to enjoy it. For some women, vaginal dryness can make intercourse uncomfortable or even painful. Causes can include nerve damage, reduced blood flow, medications, and hormonal changes — including those during pregnancy or menopause.

Gestational diabetes is high blood sugar during pregnancy. It can develop in women who don’t already have diabetes. It affects 2% to 10% of pregnancies in the United States every year. Any woman can have gestational diabetes, but some are at higher risk — including those who are overweight or have obesity, are more than 25 years old, or have a family history of type 2 diabetes.

For more information, call Las Vegas All Women’s Care at (702) 522-9640. Or visit us at 700 Shadow Lane #165 in Las Vegas.

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