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Diabetes and Menopause: A Double Challenge

Diabetes and Menopause: A Double Challenge

Diabetes and menopause can team up to have various effects on your body. It would be wise to know what to expect and how to control it.

What to expect?
Weight gain: During menopause many women gain weight. This could increase the need for insulin or oral diabetes medication as menopause causes insulin resistance that can affect blood sugar levels.
Blood sugar level changes: The cells responding to insulin are affected by the hormones oestrogen and progesterone. Changes in these hormones after menopause can fluctuate blood sugar levels causing a higher risk of diabetes complications.
Sleep problems: Hot flashes and night sweats can make you deprived of sleep leading to an imbalance of blood sugar levels.
Infections: The chances of urinary tract infections are much higher as compared to the premenopausal state as the presence of oestrogen provides a favourable medium for bacteria and yeast to survive. Also, if diagnosed with diabetes, there could be a chance of sugar in the urine that can further increase the chances on infections.
Sexual problems: One of the most common problems in menopause is vaginal dryness that could cause difficulty during sex. The nerve cells on the wall of the vagina may be damaged due to diabetes and hence interferes with orgasm and arousal.

How to control it?
• Measure your blood sugar levels frequently. Keep a record of your blood sugar levels and symptoms. Get an HbA1C test done regularly (once in 3 months).
• Pay extra attention to having a well-balanced diet and following a regular exercise regime.
• Make sure you ask your doctor to change/alter your diabetes medications depending upon your average blood sugar levels. He may have to increase the dosage if you have put on weight or have reduced your physical activity.
• You are at a high risk of developing cardiovascular diseases if you are diabetic. The risk increases even more when you reach menopause. So, make sure you follow a diet rich in fibre to help you reduce cholesterol and keep your heart healthy. Also, exercise regularly.
• Most of the menopausal symptoms like hot flashes, vaginal dryness etc. are treatable. Consult with your doctor for the apt treatment. If you have gained weight then you can consult with your dietitian to revise your diet plan.

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