What a woman should know about diabetes

  • By Dr. T Deepa Porkodi

Diabetes is a disease that affects both the sexes equally. However, a woman’s body is different from a man’s. There are ways in which dealing with diabetes will change depending on whether you are a man or a woman. Here are a few points that every woman suffering from diabetes should take note of:

Though men and women are affected equally by diabetes; the number of women dying due to it is alarmingly high. Diabetes is the topmost silent killer in women. The risk of death due to cardiovascular complications also is very high in women.

  1. Is it okay to use birth control pills while being diabetic?
    Preferably no. Birth control pills increase your blood sugar levels. So, if you use them for a year or more, you are increasing your chances of developing diabetes related complications.
  2. I am pregnant, what are the ideals sugar levels for me?
    Fasting 80-110 mg/dL
    1 hour after meals 100-140 mg/dL
  3. I had gestational diabetes. Now that the baby is born, when should I check my blood sugar levels?
    Gestational diabetes is usually resolved after the baby is born. However, get your blood checked after about 6 to 8 weeks. Keep checking the blood sugar levels regularly as gestational diabetes indicates that you are prone to develop type II diabetes.
  4. I have diabetes. Is it okay to breast feed my baby?
    Breast milk is the best food for your new-born. Even if you have pre-existing diabetes or if your diabetes was discovered during pregnancy, go ahead and breast feed your baby. Unless your doctor advices you against it, there is no reason why you shouldn’t give your baby breast milk.
  5. Will menopause affect my diabetes?
    Yes, it will. Menopause brings along with it hormonal fluctuations that cause the blood sugars too to spiral beyond control. Also, if you are diabetic, chances are that you will reach menopause faster.
  6. What are the risks if I choose to go for HRT?
    Hormone replacement therapy uses either oestrogen alone or oestrogen and progesterone together. Oestrogen alone increases the risk of breast and uterine cancer. Using both together reduces the risk of uterine and cervical cancer.
  7. Can I drink alcohol if I am diabetic?
    Yes, you can in moderation Not more. However, we suggest to quit.
  8. Will my sex life be affected due to diabetes?
    Yes. You may not feel any interest in sexual activity. There may be vaginal dryness and pain during intercourse too.
  9. Will I pass on my disease to my children?
    Whether your child develops diabetes depend on factors other than you too.
    Your child has a 6% chance of developing type I diabetes if his father has it and a 4% chance of developing type I diabetes if you have it. If your child was born after you crossed your 25th birthday, the chances come down to 1%.
    If you have diabetes type II; your child has a 14% chance of developing it too. If both, you and your husband, suffer from type II diabetes, there is a 45% chance that your child will develop diabetes.

Diabetes is a life changing disease. It brings along with it several doubts and thoughts. It is very essential to clear them all to face the disease positively and confidently!