Diabetes in women is different in comparison with the same disease in men. They are small differences, but nevertheless have an impact on diagnosis and treatment. Women are more interested if they may have symptoms of diabetes, especially its treatment and prevention.
On the course of the disease it influences age, menstrual cycle, menopause and other individual circumstances of the patient. All of these topics are discussed in detail below. If you still have questions, pleasecontact us.
What is diabetes and pre-diabetes
Diabetes type 1 or 2 – is when the blood glucose concentration is increased. Your blood always has dissolved glucose, which the body uses as an energy source. However, too much sugar is harmful to health. Because blood glucose enters the cell where is combusted as fuel. To get the fuel into the cells, insulin is required. Insulin is a hormone that is produced by the pancreas, and in particular its beta-cells. Insulin gets from the pancreas into the blood, where it’s job is to help cells to absorb glucose.
Type 1 diabetes arises from the fact that the pancreas produces insufficient insulin. In type 2 diabetes insulin levels is sufficient or even too much, but sensitivity of the cell is reduced. Whatever the type of diabetes, the concentration of sugar in the blood is increased. This can cause serious complications such as: blindness, renal failure, amputation of the foot or leg, and often a heart attack or stroke. In women of reproductive age, diabetes increases the risk of adverse pregnancy outcome.
Pre-diabetes is a person thethas elevated blood sugar, but not too much. It is not yet “complete” diabetes. If pre-diabetes is not controlled, then eventually it will go into type 2 diabetes. However, patients are more likely to die from a heart attack before the time it develops into type 2 diabetes. Take this diagnosis very seriously, even if you still have no pain. Pre-diabetes will not have destructive consequences if you upgrade to a healthy lifestyle, so change the diet and take exercise.
Symptoms of diabetes in women
For the most part, the symptoms of diabetes in women is the same as men. The only female-specific symptoms is vaginal infections. Diabetes creates favorable conditions for the breeding of fungi in the body. Among other things, the pathogenic fungi cause vaginal itching and discharge. And diabetics are reluctant to treat thrush.
A briefly list of the other common symptoms:
- Thirst, frequent urination.
- Fungal infections in the mouth or on the feet.
- Woman inexplicably lose weight (but not always!). Fatigue, vision falls, memory problems – symptoms that are mistakenly blamed on age.
Sometimes the disease in women is manifested by the fact that the detected spots on the hands and face, hair and nails become brittle. But the “beauty” signs of diabetes can not be considered typical. They are rare. And certainly long before you can see them in the skin, nails and hair, you feel weakness, chronic fatigue, constant thirst and other major symptoms.
If a woman suspects that she has diabetes, she needs to go to the lab to pass a blood test for glycated hemoglobin. This analysis does not necessarily has to be taken on an empty stomach, and you can do so at any time of the day. Analysis of blood sugar on an empty stomach is not recommended for the diagnosis of diabetes. It can show for a few years, thateverything is fine, but at the time it appears, the complications are also underway. Pass the test for glycated hemoglobin, do not skimp.
At different stages of the menstrual cycle hormones in a woman’s body are different. Some of the hormones increase, while others reduce blood sugar in diabetes. For the majority of women with type 1 diabetes or a severe type 2 diabetes, sugar is kept elevated for several days, before the starting time of the monthly period. Then, when menstruation begins, sugar returns to normal within 1-2 days. The greatest effect of the menstrual cycle is that it has a morning fasting sugar.
All this is reminiscent of the situation with pregnancy, which is described in detail below. In the second half of pregnancy sugar rises, and after delivery quickly returns to normal. But, of course, during the menstrual cycle, fluctuations in blood glucose levels are not as strong.
You must know when you are expected critical days. Keep a diary of sugar measurements to track how it behaves at different stages of the cycle. If you discover,after 3 months, that the picture is about the same every time, it is ok, if not break the cycle. Try to compensate for the rise in blood sugar, which regularly cause your hormones to go crazy. To do this, lift by 10-20% the dailydose of long-acting insulin. Probably, your blood sugar will drop after the onset of menstruation. In response, reduce the dosage or rapid-acting insulin before meals by 20-30%.
Natural menopause occurs due to the fact that the ovaries in middle age gradually produce less estrogen. Also, menopause may be caused by surgery to remove the ovaries. In this case, the production of estrogen stops suddenly. During menopause, a woman’s body mass usually increases. Other symptoms – hot flashes, mood swings, fatigue. Estrogen increases the sensitivity of tissues to insulin. When this hormone becomes less, control of diabetes can be complicated.
At the beginning of menopause, many women, patients with insulin-dependent diabetes, note that hypoglycemia happens more and more severe. Particularly unpleasant bouts of hypoglycemia at night. These troubles are due to the fact that the estrogen level fluctuates. Later, he sets consistently low. As a result, the effectiveness of insulin is reduced, and then you need to increase its dosage.
Fluctuations in blood sugar levels in women during menopause are different for each individual. Giving any precise guidelines for insulin dosage is impossible. Measure more often your sugar with the glucose meter, keep records, analyze them. Learn how to accurately calculate insulin dosage in terms of the meter and the products that you eat. Sugar can vary greatly here and there, but it’s still not a reason to drastically change the insulin regimen. Proceed slowly, but systematically – and with time everything will stabilize.
Pregnancy in type 1 diabetes
If you have type 1 diabetes, keep in mind that at different stages of pregnancy insulin requirements will vary. The total daily dose of insulin will be different in the I, II and III trimester of pregnancy. At the same time, the ratio of the extended (basal) and rapid (bolus) insulin, is likely to remain unchanged.
From the change in insulin requirements pregnancy is divided into the following periods:
- from the beginning up to 6 weeks;
- 7-12 weeks;
- Trimesters II and III, to the end of 36 weeks;
- 37 weeks prior to childbirth;
- the first 2-3 days after birth.
Up to 6 weeks into the pregnancy, probably everything will be as usual. Insulin requirements remain the same as prior to conception. You may not even know you are pregnant. Further, from 6 to 12 week daily insulin dose is usually lowered. Don’t you think it’s strange? Let’s see why this is so: immune system’s activity in this period is reduced, so that the body does not reject the fetus. Due to this, an autoimmune attack takes placeon the pancreatic beta cells to temporarily weaken them.
Perhaps, the pancreas begins to produce a certain number of its own insulin. As a result, from 6 to 12 weeks of pregnancy danger of hypoglycemia is increased by 3 times. It is dangerous for the fetus. Feel free to reduce their dosage of insulin as soon as the meter shows that blood sugar drops. Tentatively, they should be reduced by 25%, but it’s all individually. Keep a glucose tablet. Even before pregnancy you need to learn how to use them for the prevention and relief of hypoglycemia.
In II and III trimester woman’s need for insulin increases gradually. Body weight increases. The placenta produces hormones that reduce the effectiveness of insulin. From 12 to 36 weeks of pregnancy daily insulin dose increases by 2-3 times. This is normal. The fruit is actively growing. To maintain this process, you need a lot of insulin.
With 36 weeks until delivery, insulin requirements are no longer growing, but remain high. Once removed the placenta in women the level of hormones immediately decreases and that causes insulin resistance. In the first 24-48 hours after birth optimal daily insulin dose can be even lower than it was before pregnancy. Beware of hypoglycemia in this period! Some women are suffering from insulin-dependent diabetes in these special days insulin injections can generally be superfluous. This happens rarely, but keep in mind this possibility.
Then your insulin needs will be about the same as before pregnancy. Breast-feeding slightly lowers blood sugar. Accordingly, insulin dosage, too, need to drop. However, if a woman gained weight after childbirth, then it will increase insulin resistance. To compensate for her need you will have a higher daily dose of insulin. Caring for the baby, you will occasionally sleep, or even not sleep at all. This too will affect your insulin needs, probably in the direction of their increase.
For the most part, diabetes in women is no different from the disease in men. The symptoms are practically identical. Exceptions are vaginal infections, from which nature freed men. But women do not have to worry about impotence on the other hand…
Special features of the insulin-dependent diabetes in women were described in detail above. Indicators of blood sugar are more likely to be affectedby the menstrual cycle, menopauseand pregnancy. In all these cases it is necessary to adjust the dosage of insulin. Learn how to accurately calculate the dose rather than colitis always the same as what most diabetics do.
If you have any questions about the features of diabetes in women, please contact us.