What to Know About Diabetes and Women’s Health
If you’re a woman with diabetes, you need to be extra vigilant about your health. That’s because diabetes can be particularly hazardous for women.
While a man with diabetes can expect to live an average of 7.5 years less than a man who doesn’t have diabetes, a woman with diabetes typically dies more than 8 years earlier than women without the disease.
Unlike their counterparts without the disease, women with diabetes do not have lower rates of heart disease than men. They are also 6 times more likely to have heart disease. This is of particular concern because women who have heart attacks are much less likely than men to seek medical help, in part because they may not even be aware that they are having a heart attack. Symptoms of a heart attack can be different for men and women, and women experiencing nausea, tiredness, dizziness, light-headedness or sleep problems may not know that these warning signs can indicate a heart attack.
Meanwhile, one symptom associated with heart attacks, chest pain, is actually more common in men. Many women have heart attacks without chest pain. Additionally, women with diabetes are more likely to develop kidney disease, and they have higher rates of depression than men.
4 Tips For Women with Diabetes:
So what can women with diabetes do to ensure they stay healthy?
- Eat a healthy diet. Eat a variety of fruits and vegetables, lean meat, fish and whole grains.
- Keep your blood sugar under control and take prescribed medications appropriately. Losing weight can be helpful, so try to exercise at least three times a week.
- Educate yourself about heart attack symptoms in women, and see your doctor for regular checkups on blood pressure and cholesterol. It’s important to have your cholesterol checked often since higher cholesterol puts you at risk for a heart attack.
- If you are of childbearing age, ask your doctor about other health conditions that are associated with diabetes. Many women with diabetes also have a condition called polycystic ovarian syndrome (PCOS). With PCOS, the most common form of female infertility, a woman often doesn’t have menstrual periods or has them only occasionally. Since the eggs are not released, most women with PCOS have trouble getting pregnant. These women, when they get pregnant, can be at higher risk for problems such as miscarriage. If you have PCOS, your doctor may recommend that you see a high-risk obstetrician when you become pregnant.