Diabetes and menopause, two things that can go hand in hand as you age. But keep in mind that just because you are close to menopause, does not mean that you are likely to acquire diabetes. Although it wouldn’t be wrong to say that in recent years, more and more women seem to have a higher chance of being diagnosed with diabetes as soon as they go through menopause.
Not sure how there is a link or what both these conditions are? Here are some details that will help you to figure out how you can manage your symptoms. Read on to learn more.
Menopause is something similar to puberty, it is the beginning of one era and the start of another phase of life for women. Puberty is the start of periods, while menopause is the end of it. But that is not the only thing that ends. Estrogen levels, the female hormone, responsible for fertility and child bearing also starts declining.
The onset of menopause can be as early as the 40’s or as late as 55 and above. Average age to have menopause is 51 yrs. old in US. Menopause doesn’t just happen suddenly, like one day you wake up and from there on there will be no periods. Rather, there are symptoms that include sleep disturbance, vaginal dryness, emotional changes, increased depression or moodiness, fluctuating menstrual cycle until it stops completely.
Severity of the symptoms is different for each individual. For some women, menopause could lead to high blood sugar levels, start of osteoporosis, or even heart disease. Depression can also be a common symptom for women. Keep in mind though that menopause is not a disease, but a natural process that cannot be avoided. Every woman goes through it.
Menopause is the end of fertility for women. Although a natural process, it can sometimes happen because of surgery or some other medical treatment, like cancer treatment. This kind of menopause is irreversible if it involves removal of the ovaries. But if it’s because of cancer treatments, there are times when women can take medication to become fertile again or be able to conceive.
What is Diabetes?
A medical condition that leads to abnormally high range of blood sugar, aka glucose, in the blood. Diabetes is an autoimmune condition that takes place due to two reasons. It is either because of insulin resistance, or because the body is unable to produce adequate amounts of insulin to get rid of high levels of glucose in the blood.
Diabetes is often referred to as type I and type II diabetes. Keep in mind that diabetes is a chronic condition and if not treated or diagnosed in time, can lead to many other medical conditions and at its worst, can cause the patient to have amputations of the limbs and premature death. Here are some common symptoms of diabetes:
- Weight loss
- Excessive thirst or hunger
- Frequent urination
- Yeast infection
- Skin problems
- Slowly healing or non healing wounds
- Numbness or tingling sensations in feet and toes
If diabetes runs in your family, you are obese or have hypertension, then you have an increased risk for diabetes. If you feel that you have any of the symptoms mentioned above, then you need to get in touch with your doctor. Studies show that about 10% of people in US suffer from diabetes and the majority are women. Therefore you need to take it seriously.
How are Diabetes and Menopause Related?
The question is, how are menopause, the cessation of fertility, related to diabetes, a blood sugar condition? Answer is, many women experience blood sugar irregularities during menopause and therefore diabetes can result. What’s more, the increase in weight also leads to easy acquisition of diabetes as there is too much glucose consumption and it can cause diabetes.
There is also a hormonal connection. Research shows that during menopause there is quite a bit of discrepancy and fluctuation of hormones. This means that the insulin levels get affected too. This in turn, causes insulin resistance and a higher probability of being diagnosed with diabetes.
Problem is, when diabetes and menopause combine, they give way to increased medical issues. Here are some of the things you will face if you develop diabetes while going through menopause.
- Weight gain takes place. It is already a known fact that obese people are more at risk of insulin resistance, hence the diabetic condition will probably get worse.
- Sleep issues are common. Hot flashes and night sweats will not let you have proper sleep. This will raise your sugar levels resulting in higher blood sugar.
- Fluctuations in blood sugar take place. As the hormones estrogen and progesterone go up and down, your insulin will automatically fluctuate. This is common occurrence with menopause, but it indicates that you need to become more conscious about your blood sugar condition.
- Sexual dysfunction may happen. Since menopause is all about change in hormone levels, it means you may not feel that you are really into sex anymore. Another thing that happens is that diabetes can lead to nerve damage of the vaginal lining. Vaginal dryness can cause pain and give way to lack of interest in sex as well as problems with arousal and orgasm.
- Infections take place more frequently. From urinary tract infections to vaginal infections, menopause can give rise to both.
All these problems by no mean indicate that your case is hopeless and there is nothing that you can do in order to maintain your physical and mental health. With the right information at hand you can not only manage your menopausal symptoms, but also ensure that your blood sugar remains within normal ranges.
Start by getting your blood work done and your glucose tested. Two tests that are key are blood glucose and Hemoglobin A1C. Changes to your diet and general lifestyle are really important when trying to get some help. The DNA Uprint is a test that you can benefit from to guide you on this journey. Remember, remaining calm and stress free is also a key to become and stay healthy.