Dr Girija Wagh, Obstetrician, Gynecologist, IVF expertMD, FICOG, DIP ENDO, FICS
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Diabetes in woman needs a strategic approach. Diabetes mellitus affects women 👩🏻 and let us be smart to identify it.
Diabetes is a condition which results in high sugar (glucose )levels in the blood. These high levels are present because the glucose is not utilised or stored in the storage places (e.g liver ) effectively. This work is done by the hormone Insulin which is secreted by the pancreas a gland present inside our body . Women who are overweight, obese, peri-menopausal ( age beyond 40 years ) and pregnant are at risk of developing this disorder. Diabetes can cause problems to the woman as well as her offspring if pregnant. Globally it is identified that especially Asian women are at risk of developing diabetes. This writeup is dedicated to all those women who have come to me for their health care advice and patiently followed everything that I guided them for and delivered safely. My salute🙋🏻♀️to these women who trusted me for their ailments
Why are women more at risk of developing diabetes ?
Obesity, sedentary lifestyle, improper nutrition and hormonal imbalances are common. Additionally, Asian ethnicity causes genetic susceptibility for developing diabetes. Diseases such as hypothyroidism and PCOS increase the possibility of developing diabetes .diabetes in the family especially the parents is an important risk factor. Pregnancy is a natural physiological process but is known to increase the chances fo developing diabetes.
Why does pregnancy cause diabetes ?
Pregnancy is a condition identified as ‘diabetogenic’ which means it causes diabetes. This is because the hormones released from placenta meant for the specific growth of the baby and the adaptations of the mother’s body are all anti-insulin in their actions. This causes increased insulin resistance( less effective work of insulin ) . This is normal physiology intended to nurture the baby but can get toppled into a pathological condition such as diabetes due to external factors .Refer to http://drgirijawagh.com/diabetes-in-pregnancy/ for more details .
What is the ideal weight ? What is overweight ? What is obesity ?
When the woman is overweight that means her weight is more than her height. This can also be calculated by calculating the BMI. When the weight does not match the height of a person or is more than what should be one can know that we are overweight. Simple formulas exist such as the BMI where the weight in kilograms is divided by height in meters squared. The ideal BMI for Indians has to be 18-23 and BMI more than 26 is considered obese. Simple parameter such as the waist circumference measured in centimetres can tell us that all is not right. Waist circumference more than 88 cm can be commonly associated with obesity and its consequences such as diabetes, infertility, raised blood pressure etc . The actual assessment can also come by determining the body composition and that can be a better guide. Consequences of obesity mentioned above are assessed through clinical examination by a doctor and laboratory tests. Visit https://drgirijawagh.com/?s=obesity for more info.
Are there any easy self-assessments which I can do to know whether I have diabetes ?
Some symptoms such as feeling very thirsty, hungry, craving for food, feeling tired, recurrent urinary or vaginal infections, passing excessive urine can be due to diabetes. Developing infective boils or susceptibility to infections can be due to diabetes. Definitive diagnosis is confirmed by doing laboratory tests which estimate the blood sugars in the body. Blood sugars are best measured in a fasting state and one and two hours after meals. HBA1C is another test which tells us about the glucose levels in the person’s body for the preceding 3 months and is a single one-time test which can tell us about abnormal sugar processing in the body.
How often should I do my laboratory tests to assess diabetes ?
If you have a family history of diabetes then you must do it annually irrespective of your age. If no family history then after the age of 35 it is better to test for diabetes annually. We in India have a very high prevalence of diabetes. Also if you have any risk factors as mentioned in the preceding answers you must test for diabetes. Early detection can help in preventing serious long-term consequences of diabetes.
Before planning pregnancy should I test myself for diabetes ?
Absolutely !! It is extremely important to know your diabetic status along with your haemoglobin level ( which tell your blood oxygen carrying capacity ) and blood pressure levels before planning babies . For more visit http://drgirijawagh.com/pregnancy-planning-swift-checklist/
What are the consequences of diabetes ?
Diabetes can cause raised blood pressure, heart ailments such as heart blocks and heart attacks. It can make you more prone to develop infections especially respiratory, vaginal and urinary infections. It can cause defects in the eyesight and in some cases blindness. Body extremities such as toes, feet are at risk of developing diabetic ulcers and serious infections which may cause the need to amputate ( cut off) the organ causing infection. In women, diabetes increases the risk of cancer of the womb ( cancer endometrium )
How can I prevent diabetes ? Few preventive mantras ….
Eat healthy food : large quantities of vegetables and salads, proteins and complex carbohydrates ( e.g the bran and the rusk in the flour is healthy and necessary )
Reduce or completely eliminate processed foods, junk food and refined flour foods
Reduce the intake of sugarPhysical activity either through work or especially by dedicating atlas 40 minutes daily
Try to be less worried, angry and frustrated
Pray, meditate and read
Take home message
Let us be healthy and create our wealth through healthy living. Let us eradicate diabetes from our lives and the community. Feel free to contact me for any queries or issues and it will be a pleasure to serve you through all that I know
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