Why Diabetes is So Dangerous in Women Over 40
When people say, “You’re so sweet,” it’s usually meant as a compliment. When your blood is too sweet, or your blood sugar (glucose) is too high, it’s a warning sign for prediabetes or diabetes.
According to the American Diabetes Association, in 2012, of the 29.1 million Americans who had diabetes, more than half were women, with the majority being 40 or older.
Menopause & Diabetes: Similar Symptoms
It’s not surprising that many women in perimenopause and menopause don’t realize they have diabetes, especially because the symptoms can be confused with symptoms of menopause.
The following symptoms are common to both menopause and diabetes:
- Frequent urination
- Night sweats
- Mood swings
- Foggy thinking
- Dry, itchy skin
- Vaginal infections
Symptoms of Menopause:
It’s important to know if you have prediabetes or diabetes because diabetes is one of the most silently dangerous diseases we face as a nation today. Diabetes is the sixth most common killer of women ages 40-54, and the fourth most common killer of women ages 55 to 65.
Why is Diabetes So Dangerous?
Diabetes leads to chronically high blood sugar levels. Chronically high blood sugar levels can silently damage blood vessels and nerves, which can lead to:
- Heart disease
- Nerve damage
- Kidney disease
- Loss of vision
- High blood pressure
In general, diabetic women over 40 lose more years of life than men do. The death rate for diabetic women over 40 has risen dramatically since the 1970’s. However, this is not the case for diabetic men over 40.
While the statistics are alarming, the good news is there are things women can do to support their health.
Menopause, Glucose Levels & Waist Circumference
While menopause does not specifically cause weight gain, menopause is associated with body composition. As hormones fluctuate and become imbalanced, estrogen levels drop, and body fat shifts more to the belly, causing the well-known nicknamed, “muffin top” to appear. In general, the lower the estrogen level, the wider the waist circumference.
Without natural hormone balancing protocols and exercise, muscles get smaller. This results in the body burning less sugar, as muscles burn more calories than fat does. In Dr. Kealy’s weight loss program, patients start a regiment of nutritional protocols and stress reduction exercises to help maintain muscle mass beyond menopause. All this leads to better control of glucose levels.
Why is is Important to Control Glucose Levels?
Excess glucose that occurs with diabetes gets deposited in the small blood vessels in the kidneys, eyes and nerves. Controlling blood sugar levels helps prevent and reverse this damage. Poor blood sugar control leads to complications. Poorly controlled blood sugar is the reason why retinopathy (disease of the nerve layer of the back of your eye) is the number one cause of new cases of blindness in adults aged 40-74, and diabetes kidney disease is the leading cause of end-stage renal disease.
WE TEST, WE DON’T GUESS
Get tested! Women in menopause are at particular risk and every women after 40 who is overweight should be screened and tested for diabetes. The good news is you don’t have to lose a lot of weight a huge impact, just 7% weight loss can greatly lower your risk of diabetes and heart disease.
About the Author
Dr. Siobhan Kealy is one of America’s leading women’s wellness and menopause experts. Get a free download to her magazine and learn how Dr. Kealy’s exclusive female blood panel detects menopausal diabetes, as well as which hormones are making you fat!