Women may have unique diabetes symptoms: Expert tips for dealing with them

One might think that diseases like diabetes and hypertension will show similar symptoms. But this is not entirely true. There are some symptoms that are unique to men or women. If we take the case of diabetes, for example, we might think that the classic signs are frequent urination, increased thirst and cloudy or painful urine. However, women may experience a different onset of symptoms.
Speaking about the symptoms of diabetes in women, Dr. Pramila Kalra, MD DM (ENDO) MAMS FACE FRCP (EDIN), Professor and Head of Department of Endocrinology, Ramaiah Medical College and Hospitals, Bengaluru, shares: “There are some symptoms of diabetes that are unique to women. Women with diabetes may experience vaginal yeast infections and frequent urinary tract infections. The chances of heart problems are three to four times higher in women compared to two to three times in men if they have diabetes. Additionally, women with uncontrolled diabetes may experience menstrual irregularities, infertility issues, and sexual dysfunction, including decreased libido and vaginal dryness..”

The Doctor. Ashok Kumar Jhingan, Senior Director of the Center for Diabetes, Thyroid, Obesity and Endocrinology at BLK-Max Super Specialty Hospital further adds, “The management of diabetes in men and women can differ in many ways. Men are more likely to be diagnosed with diabetes, and usually at a younger age, than women. For women, hormonal changes such as pregnancy can affect blood glucose levels and put them at greater risk of developing diabetes. Additionally, women may be at greater risk for certain diabetes-related complications, such as heart disease and depression.
Should diabetics eat every two hours?

Endocrinologist and diabetologist, Dr. Piya Ballani Thakkar, Diplomate, American Board of Endocrinology, Diabetes & Metabolism Internal Medicine, MD – Ob/Gyn (Mumbai), DNB, DGO, FCPS, FACE explains: “It is crucial for diabetics to maintain stable blood sugar levels throughout of the day, which can be achieved through regular meals. However, frequency and timing of meals and snacks may vary depending on individual needs and preferences.

The Doctor. Pramila adds: “People with diabetes should eat a high-fiber, high-vegetable, low-fat, zero-trans-fat diet with complex carbohydrates and good amounts of protein, such as legumes and/or non-vegetarian foods. Fruit intake can be allowed from 100 to 150 grams a day, depending on glycemic control. They should also limit their intake of processed foods, alcohol and sugary drinks and focus on eating whole, nutrient-dense foods.”

Are sugary fruits safe for diabetics?

The Doctor. Jhingan shares, “We all know that fruits and vegetables are good for us. In fact, fruits are a great snack option. Choosing fruits as snacks provides vitamins, minerals and fiber. And if you’re wondering whether fruits have sugar and therefore whether they should be avoided. No, you shouldn’t. Whole fruits are good for everyone, even diabetics. Fruits have natural sugar, which does not harm the body. Choose whole fruit over fruit juice. Eating small portions throughout the day is better than eating a large portion once a day.”

How to manage diabetes symptoms

To avoid yeast infections and UTIs, it’s important to keep your blood sugar levels as close to the target range as possible. Some other ways to prevent UTIs are to drink plenty of water, wear cotton underwear, and urinate frequently instead of waiting until your bladder is full.

Does diabetes make the heart vulnerable?

Diabetes can make the heart vulnerable and increase the risk of developing cardiovascular complications.

Over time, high blood sugar can damage the blood vessels and nerves that control the heart. People with diabetes are also more likely to have other conditions that increase their risk of heart disease: High blood pressure increases the force of blood in the arteries and can damage artery walls, shares Dr. Jhingan.

Elevated blood glucose levels can damage blood vessels, accelerate atherosclerosis and cause endothelial dysfunction, leading to complications such as heart attack, heart enlargement and failure. Additionally, diabetes is often associated with an increased risk of high blood pressure, high cholesterol, and obesity, all of which are risk factors for heart disease.

Chest pain and shortness of breath can be signs of uncontrolled diabetes, but they can also be caused by other conditions. It is essential to seek medical attention and have a heart evaluation if someone experiences chest pain or shortness of breath, as these could be symptoms of a heart attack or other serious conditions.

The Doctor. Jhingan says: “If you have pre-diabetes or type 1 or type 2 diabetes, you should be aware of the symptoms of heart disease, including: Chest pain, also known as angina, including a feeling of tightness or pressure in the chest. Shortness of breathe. Fainting or nearly fainting. High blood sugar, high blood pressure and cholesterol problems increase the risk of heart events, but nerve damage can make the warning signs of an attack impossible to feel. People with diabetes may have an impaired perception of chest pain.

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