Diabetes in Women over 50
Adult onset Diabetes is a serious disorder. It is a metabolic disorder caused by high levels of sugar in the blood. It is a progressive disease that affects every organ of the body from the heart to the eyes. Diabetes affects both men and women, but there has been an increase in woman in the past few years. More women are affected by the complications diabetes can cause.
Most people tend to ignore the symptoms of Diabetes and by the time it is diagnosed, it usually is from a serious health problem. People do not die from diabetes, but from complications associated with the disease. It is important to get tested for diabetes as early diagnosis will help you get proper treatment.The three main symptoms of diabetes are: Polydipsia, Polyuria, and Polyphagia.
- Adult onset diabetes or type 2 is a usually a genetic disease. This means that if your mother or father have it, you will have a greater chance of getting the disease.
- It can also be environmental, being obese, people who eat unhealthy and do not follow a proper diet.
- Women who suffer from ovarian cysts, have infertility problems are also more likely to get diabetes in their later life.
- Polydipsia- is excessive thirst. This is one of the symptoms a person will notice first. People tend to ignore it thinking they are just thirsty more than usual. The more a person drinks the more they feel that they are not satisfied- they just need even more to drink.
- Polyuria- which is an increase in urination. The kidneys filter the blood to make urine. They reabsorb the glucose in the blood and then return it to the bloodstream. If the glucose is to high in the bloodstream, the kidneys ability to reabsorb it is lost and some glucose gets lost in the urine. The more glucose there is in the urine it then has the ability to induce more water. So since there is more glucose in the water then you have more urine- making Polyuria..
- Dry Mouth- caused by the increased thirst and urination which leads to dehydration
- Polyphagia- this is excessive appetite. This usually affects those people when they are just at the beginning of diabetes. With the increase of carbohydrates, which in turn will shoot the glucose up, as well as the insulin. The carbohydrates are being digested quick which tends to increase the hunger feeling and also the desire to eat more.
- Fatigue- people will notice that they are tired all the time and will complain of a lack of energy. This is due to insulin resistance which makes it difficult for glucose to get into the cells of your body to give you energy . Instead, the glucose is in flowing in the bloodstream, which is causing the fatigue all the time.
- Mental problems- such as depression, irritability, lethargy and confusion. Any of these symptoms will need attention immediately. This is thought to be caused by the the sugar in the body fluctuating and the body's struggle to maintain a normal level.
- Blurred Vision: This a another common symptom of diabetes. When the blood glucose levels are high over an extended period of time, this can cause the lens in the eyes to swell and hence you will have vision changes. To help correct the vision you need to get your blood sugar under control. People with diabetes that is newly diagnosed should have their vision checked as soon as they can.
- Itching- can occur and mainly will affect the groin and vaginal areas. Dry and itching skin in diabetics occur from the high sugar level. To help compensate the body will pull moisture from the tissues of the body to help counteract the increase sugar levels, and this can let the skin itchy and also dry.
- Numbing and tingling in the fingers and toes. Too much sugar in your body damages the nerves in the bodies system. This causes Diabetic Neuropathy. As the neuropathy progresses one will have pain, burning of the feet and lower legs. There is no cure for it, but there is medication to help with symptoms. Talk to your doctor about this.
- Sores that are slow healing or frequent infections- diabetics have a hard time in healing when they have a wound. It is believed that high levels of glucose impair the bodies ability to fight infections. For women vaginal and bladder infections are common.
- Treatment goals:
- Learn more about Diabetes. This is important for people, because the more they know about the disease the better they will be able to control the symptoms. Be open and talk about it with your physician.
- HbA1C- this blood test will give you the results how your sugar has been for 2-3 months. Hb means hemoglobin, it is a protein or molecule that links up (glycates) with glucose in the blood. The more glucose in the blood the more the hemoglobin becomes glycated. By measuring the amount of A1C (average glucose) in the blood, you will get an idea how your blood glucose has been doing for 2-3 months. For example say your A1C comes back at 12- this means your glucose has been about 300 for 3 months. Current guidelines suggest trying to keep the A1C at 7 or less, unless your doctor sets a different range.
- Blood glucose testing- Test your sugar at least once daily. Keep a log and take it with you when you visit your doctor so he can help regulate your diabetes. A good meter I have found is one that can be purchased at Wal Mart called Relion. You will not need a prescription for this one and it works just as well as an expensive meter.
- Diet- Some people with type 2 diabetes can control it with diet alone. If not your doctor will decide with you the best course to take to treat it. It can range from medication to insulin. Talk with your doctor only he can help you with the best way to help your diabetes.
Diabetes affects different parts of the body. It can cause the problems months or years after one is diagnosed
- Kidneys- Kidney functions are affected. Symptoms can include nausea, fatigue, frequent urination, sleep problems, restless legs and itching. The cause of diabetic kidney failure is unclear, but it is believed that high glucose levels affect the kidneys. Your doctor will monitor your kidney function often.
- Eyes- Being diabetic may cause eye problems due to the blood vessels in the eyes being affected by the glucose level. Some common eye problems are glaucoma, cataracts and diabetic retinopathy. It is advised that one sees their eye doctor at least once or twice a year to keep watch of the eyes.
- Heart- high blood pressure and high cholesterol are common in diabetics. One needs to make sure to see their doctor and try to keep your numbers for cholesterol and blood pressure at a normal level.
Diabetes is not curable but with educating oneself on the disease and seeing your health care provider regularly it can be controlled for many years. Always remember to talk to your doctor about any problems you are having and have your blood checked. feet checked and eyes checked as ordered by your doctor.
Fasting Plasma Glucose
6.5 or above
200 or above
5.7 to 6.4
140 to 199
139 or below