Type 2 Diabetes

Millions of American women are living with type 2 diabetes, and millions more are at risk of developing it.

The number of new cases will continue to rise along with obesity rates—one of the major risk factors—unless more women adopt healthier habits, which should include a healthy diet and regular exercise.

Here are five ways you can control and even prevent type 2 diabetes: 

  • Stay active with 30 minutes of exercise every day
  • Plan your meals and watch portion sizes
  • Enjoy whole grain alternatives to fatty, sugary foods
  • Maintain a healthy weight
  • Quit smoking

Common Symptoms of Type 2 Diabetes

The symptoms of type 2 diabetes include excessive thirst, unexplained fatigue, frequent urination, and blurred vision. Keep in mind, however, that many women don’t experience these warning signs or confuse them for another condition. This is why so many women don’t even realize they have type 2 diabetes until they go to the doctor with a complication of the disease, such as neuropathy.

Risk Factors for Type 2 Diabetes
The major risk factors for type 2 diabetes are heredity and obesity, but hypothyroidism, steroid therapies and some medications may increase risk. Women who have had gestational diabetes have a 60 percent higher risk of developing type 2 diabetes. Risk also increases with aging.

Type 2 diabetes can be especially difficult for perimenopausal and menopausal women. Hormonal fluctuations make it more difficult to control blood sugar; elevated blood sugar makes it easier to pick up infections, especially yeast infections. Hormone shifts can increase food cravings, leading to indulgences women living with diabetes should avoid.

When to Be Screened for Type 2 Diabetes
A blood glucose screening is recommended for overweight women who have one or more additional risk factors, such as a family history of diabetes. Women without risk factors should be tested at age 45, with follow-up tests every three years to be sure blood sugar levels are in a safe range.

Type 1 Diabetes

What is diabetes mellitus type 1?
Diabetes mellitus is a disease affecting how your body makes insulin and how it uses glucose (sugar). Insulin is a hormone that helps your body use sugar by allowing the sugar to enter body cells. With type 1 diabetes, your body makes little or no insulin, causing high blood sugar levels. Type 1 diabetes is also called insulin-dependent diabetes mellitus (IDDM) or juvenile-onset diabetes. It is more common in children or young adults, but it can occur at any age.

What causes diabetes mellitus type 1?
Type 1 diabetes may be an autoimmune disease. An autoimmune disease is a condition where your body’s immune system (defense system) attacks your body’s cells. Normally, when blood glucose level increases, the pancreas (an organ that lies behind the stomach) makes insulin. In type 1 diabetes, the cells in the pancreas that make insulin are destroyed.

Source: Thomson MICROMEDEX. 2008

Gestational Diabetes

What is gestational diabetes?
Gestational diabetes is also called gestational diabetes mellitus or GDM. It is a form of diabetes that may develop during pregnancy, usually in the second or third trimester. GDM happens when the pregnant woman’s body cannot make enough insulin. Insulin helps your body use glucose (sugar). Decreased amount of insulin results in high blood sugar levels in the body.

What causes gestational diabetes?
No one knows for sure what causes GDM. It is believed that the hormones made by the placenta block the effects of insulin. The placenta is the tissue in your uterus (womb) that connects the pregnant woman to her baby. The blocking effect on insulin increases as the placenta grows and more of these hormones are produced. Normally, the body makes more insulin to take care of this problem. GDM results when not enough insulin is made.

Who is at risk of having gestational diabetes?
One or more of the following factors may increase your risk of having GDM:

  • Having a close family member who has diabetes. Having a history of high blood sugar.
  • Having a weight more than your caregiver advised before and during pregnancy.
  • Having given birth to a previous baby weighing more than 9 pounds, 14 ounces.
  • Having glycosuria (sugar in your urine).
  • Women who are black, Hispanic or American Indians have an increased risk of GDM. (Source: Thomson MICROMEDEX. 2008)

What are the symptoms I should look for?
There are many symptoms that may lead to a diabetes diagnosis.  If you experience any of the following symptoms, please contact your healthcare provider. For more information, read the Signs and Symptoms of Diabetes.

Where can I find support and more information?

Having diabetes is a life-changing disease for you and your family. Accepting that you have diabetes may be hard. Your doctor may recommend that you meet with a diabetes educator and nutritionist to work towards a healthier lifestyle.

The Center for Nutrition and Diabetes Management will work with you and the rest of your healthcare team to achieve your goals.  For more information about our programs or to schedule an appointment, please call our office at 908-237-6920.

Diabetes & Endocrine Associates of Hunterdon provides top quality health care for disorders of the endocrine system and diabetes. Our highly qualified staff concentrates on a team approach to treating problems affecting the entire endocrine system. For more information, call 908-237-6990.

The Center for Endocrine Health provides academic quality medicine in a community setting through a multidisciplinary approach to disease management. Our approach is an individualized integrated health care experience that concentrates on healthy living, disease management/prevention, and behavior modification. For more information, call 908-735-3980.

If you need a physician, consult the physician search or call Hunterdon Medical Center’s Physician Referral Service at 1-800-511-4462.

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