The Center for Disease Control and Prevention notes that Type 1 and Type 2 diabetes is on the rise. Menopausal women between the ages of 45 to 54 are part of the number 6 diabetic killer and women in the ages of 55 to 64, are among the number 4 diabetic killer statistics. Type 2 diabetes is more common in overweight people age 40 and older. The direct correlation between menopause and diabetes is still being researched, however the hormone changes that take place in a woman’s body, has a lot to do with diabetes. The possibility of menopausal women who are prone to high blood pressure, heart disease, high cholesterol levels, and a staid lifestyle, contribute to the development of Type 2 diabetes, faster than other groups and it places them at a higher diabetes health risk.
Causes of Diabetes in Menopausal Women
Decreased estrogen hormone levels is a common and natural menopausal symptom that raises the body’s blood sugar levels, which causes a related risk of diabetes. Women between the ages of 45 and 55, generally gain about 12 to 15 pounds when going through menopause. Unfortunately, the hormonal weight gain does not distribute itself evenly throughout the body. Instead, the weight accumulates around the abdomen. The research and studies of menopausal weight gain, strongly points toward the possibility of menopausal women developing diabetes. This weight shift to the middle body is normal in this menopausal life stage, but it does have a strong risk with diabetes. Diabetes has a foundation in hormonal imbalance, which leads to glucose intolerance. Glucose is created from sugars and starches, where it converts into energy, but when a menopausal woman loses this ability and doesn’t produce enough insulin, the glucose levels begin to rise, leading to symptoms and the complications of diabetes.
Health Issues That Menopausal Women May Face
Sexual problems – The same symptoms from menopause and diabetes are the same, menopausal women experience vaginal dryness, sexual-discomfort, and lack of desire or the absence of sexual arousal response. The diabetes and menopausal changes in the body effects the nerves, with a lack of blood supply to the vaginal tissues. Other causes for menopausal and diabetic symptoms stem from a woman going through battle depression and gynecologic infections.
Changes in blood sugar level – The effect on menopause and the development of diabetes during menopause is the reduction of estrogen and progesterone levels, which is why a woman’s blood sugar levels fluctuates. As a result, blood sugar levels get higher, which creates an environment where menopause and diabetes co-exist in a woman’s body.
Weight gain – Diabetes causes weight gain and so does the lack of estrogen during menopause. Some weight gain and menopause as a result of the changes taking place in their body’s and this can increase the need for insulin and diabetic medication.
Sleep problems – Menopause and diabetes symptoms causes sleep deprivation which makes it difficult for menopausal women to manage their blood sugar levels. Sleep problems occur when woman are going through night sweats and hot flashes as a result of hormonal changes.
Infections – High blood sugar is the enemy to urinary and vaginal infections. During and after menopause, when a decrease in estrogen occurs, an environment is created, making it easier for bacteria and yeast to thrive in the urinary tract and the vaginal area.
Managing Diabetes and Menopause
Even though menopause and the development of diabetes is a double whammy, all is not lost. Diabetes, plus menopausal symptoms can be controlled with disciplined lifestyle changes, such as including an exercise regiment in your daily routine, eat healthier fruits and vegetables, and with a physician’s help, monitor your blood sugar routinely.
Strategies For Diabetes Prevention In Midlife Women
It is vitally important for midlife women to prevent diabetes by making diet, exercise and lifestyle changes. Eat foods that promote weight loss like whole grain foods and eat lean protein foods. Eat about three servings of fruits and vegetables, daily and reduce the consumption of processed foods. Exercise at least three times a week for 30 minutes by walking, jogging, swimming, running, biking, dancing, swimming, or any other heart rate increasing activities. Get screened for Type 2 diabetes and have your blood pressure and cholesterol levels checked frequently.
Menopause and Diabetes Bottom Line
Understanding diabetes and menopause helps women to prepare for the challenges that both medical occurrences present. Don’t be afraid to ask for help because it is tricky to handle menopausal symptoms, then to possibly develop diabetes, presents difficult challenges. Seek support from your a medical professional, eat well and exercise on a regular basis.