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Diabetes In Women After 40: Symptoms, Causes, Risk Factors, Treatment And Prevention

One of the most common health conditions to affect people, irrespective of age and gender, diabetes is of two types, type 1 and type 2. About 90 per cent of the cases diagnosed worldwide is type 2, where the body does not produce the required amount of insulin.

Diabetes mellitus or diabetes is a chronic condition that occurs when the pancreas doesn't produce any or enough insulin. Insulin helps regulate the blood sugar level by either absorbing the glucose in the blood or storing it in your body for future usage [1] .

The prevalence of diabetes is rising with each day. According to the WHO report on diabetes, the global prevalence of the disease has hiked from 4.7 per cent (1980) to 8.5 per cent (2014). As per the statistics of 2016, an estimated 1.6 million deaths were directly caused by diabetes [2] .

Type 1 diabetes is normally diagnosed in individuals who are below the age of 40. The more common type of diabetes, type 2 is increasingly found in individuals over the age of 40. Your risk of developing it increases as you age, especially after age 45. Several factors such as genetics, poor lifestyle habits, excess weight and high blood pressure [3] .

In the current article, we will take a look at the way diabetes affects women over the age of 40.

Diabetes In Women After 40

Studies link diabetes to menopause in women. After the age of 40, women are at an increased risk of developing autoimmune disease. One of the major killers of women over the age of 40 is diabetes, which also increases the complication of many other serious conditions, including blindness, kidney disease, and nerve disease [4] .

Doctors assert that although it is difficult to separate the effects of menopause from the effects of age and weight, hormones do play a major role in the development of the autoimmune condition in women.

Symptoms Of Diabetes In Women After 40

For both men and women over the age of 40, the symptoms are almost similar and they are as follows [5] :

  • Wounds that heal slowly
  • Blurred vision
  • Irritability
  • Increased thirst and hunger
  • Frequent urination
  • Weight loss or gain with no obvious cause
  • Fatigue
  • Reduced feeling in hands or feet
  • Breath that has a sweet, fruity odour
  • Nausea
  • Skin infections
  • Patches of darker skin in areas of the body that have creases

Apart from these, women can also get vaginal and oral yeast infections and vaginal thrush which causes itching, soreness, vaginal discharge and painful sex [6] .

Urinary infections which cause painful urination, burning sensation and bloody or cloudy urine are also reported. Some of the other signs are PCOS and female sexual dysfunction. However, in some women, the symptoms are non-noticeable.

Causes Of Diabetes In Women After 40

The autoimmune condition develops when your body fails to produce or use insulin properly. When your body doesn't produce or use insulin the way it should, glucose builds up in your blood, leading to various health complications, especially in women aged over 40 [7] .

Risk Factors Of Diabetes In Women After 40

In comparison to men, women with diabetes have a heightened risk of the following conditions [8] :

  • Heart attack
  • Heart disease
  • Stroke
  • Blindness
  • Depression

Diagnosis Of Diabetes In Women After 40

The diagnosis method of the condition in women over the age of 40 is the same as of others and they are as follows [9] :

  • A fasting plasma glucose test
  • Random plasma glucose test
  • Oral glucose tolerance test

Treatment For Diabetes In Women After 40

With type 2 diabetes being the one that affects women over the age of 40, the treatment for the condition is as proper exercise and a balanced diet.

However, when the lifestyle changes are not sufficient, doctors prescribe medication to keep the effects of diabetes at bay. Doctors generally work with patients to help them track the blood sugar level and determine the best insulin dosage for each individual [10] . Follow meal plans and recipes made especially for women over the age of 40.

On A Final Note...

When you are over the age of 40, diabetes is linked to menopause. Ask your doctor about ways you can manage menopause. If there is a change detected in your blood levels, you will be required to change the dosage of any diabetes medicines you're taking. Also, as there is an increased risk of heart diseases, make heart-healthy choices that also help manage your diabetes, such as eating healthy food and being active.

View Article References
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  2. [2] ÅBerg, A. E., Jönsson, E. K., Eskilsson, I., Landin‐Olsson, M., & Frid, A. H. (2002). Predictive factors of developing diabetes mellitus in women with gestational diabetes. Acta obstetricia et gynecologica Scandinavica, 81(1), 11-16.
  3. [3] Salmeron, J., Hu, F. B., Manson, J. E., Stampfer, M. J., Colditz, G. A., Rimm, E. B., & Willett, W. C. (2001). Dietary fat intake and risk of type 2 diabetes in women. The American journal of clinical nutrition, 73(6), 1019-1026.
  4. [4] Ehrmann, D. A., Barnes, R. B., Rosenfield, R. L., Cavaghan, M. K., & Imperial, J. (1999). Prevalence of impaired glucose tolerance and diabetes in women with polycystic ovary syndrome. Diabetes care, 22(1), 141-146.
  5. [5] Kroenke, C. H., Spiegelman, D., Manson, J., Schernhammer, E. S., Colditz, G. A., & Kawachi, I. (2006). Work characteristics and incidence of type 2 diabetes in women. American journal of epidemiology, 165(2), 175-183.
  6. [6] Hendryx, M., Nicholson, W., Manson, J. E., Kroenke, C. H., Lee, J., Weitlauf, J. C., ... & Luo, J. (2019). Social Relationships and Risk of Type 2 Diabetes Among Postmenopausal Women. The Journals of Gerontology: Series B.
  7. [7] Lipscombe, L. L., Delos-Reyes, F., Glenn, A. J., de Sequeira, S., Liang, X., Grant, S., ... & Price, J. A. (2019). The Avoiding Diabetes After Pregnancy Trial in Moms Program: Feasibility of a Diabetes Prevention Program for Women With Recent Gestational Diabetes Mellitus. Canadian journal of diabetes.
  8. [8] Metcalfe, A., Hutcheon, J. A., Sabr, Y., Lyons, J., Burrows, J., Donovan, L. E., & Joseph, K. S. (2019). Timing of delivery in women with diabetes: a population based study. Acta obstetricia et gynecologica Scandinavica.
  9. [9] Stern, D., Mazariegos, M., Ortiz-Panozo, E., Campos, H., Malik, V. S., Lajous, M., & López-Ridaura, R. (2019). Sugar-sweetened soda consumption increases diabetes risk among Mexican women. The Journal of nutrition, 149(5), 795-803.
  10. [10] Dickens, L. T., & Thomas, C. C. (2019). Updates in Gestational Diabetes Prevalence, Treatment, and Health Policy. Current diabetes reports, 19(6), 33.

Read more about: diabetes women
Story first published: Tuesday, November 12, 2019, 14:30 [IST]
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