The Mayo Clinic describes type 2 diabetes as, “(a disease) that develops when the body becomes resistant to insulin, or when the pancreas stops producing enough insulin.” While the exact cause is still unknown, they list the following as some of the top risk factors:
- Being overweight: Being overweight is a primary risk factor for type 2 diabetes because the more fatty tissue you have, the more resistant your cells become to insulin.
- Having abdominal fat: If you gain the majority of your fat in your abs, your risk of type 2 diabetes instantly increases.
- Being inactive: Being sedentary, or engageing in less than 30 minutes of activity per day, puts you at greater risk for developing type 2 diabetes.
- Family history: The risk of type 2 diabetes increases if your parent or sibling has it as well.
- Your race: African American, Hispanic, Native American and Asian-American women are more likely to develop type 2 diabetes than Caucasion women are.
- Gestational diabetes: If you developed gestational diabetes when you were pregnant, your risk of later developing type 2 diabetes increases.
Most would agree that being diagnosed with this illness is difficult for anyone to deal with. However, women who suffer from type 2 diabetes are at a higher risk for developing complications and additional illnesses than men are. According to WebMd, a woman suffering from type 2 diabetes is as likely to suffer a heart attack as a person who’s already had a prior heart attack, making type 2 diabetes related heart disease the number one killer of women in the United States. Women with this disease are also more likely to develop high cholesterol levels as well as high blood pressure. Other complications that accompany type 2 diabetes include:
- Unhealthy baby: Type 2 diabetes used to be a disease reserved only for those 40 and older; however, recent years have shown a sudden rise in younger women suffering from the disease. Having type 2 diabetes during pregnancy, can lead to your baby being born with low blood sugar levels as well as jaundice.
- Issues during menopause: During menopause, lower estrogen levels and changes in sleep can cause blood sugar levels to fluctuate, making them difficult to control. These fluctuations can increase symptoms such as mood swings, fatigue and even hot flashes. Type 2 diabetes can also have a negative effect on a woman’s sexual function, casing vaginal dryness, lowered sex drive as well as a decrease in genital sensation.
- Increased risk of infection: While all women are susceptible to infection, the high blood sugar levels in those with type 2 diabetes increase the chance of infection and the growth of yeast. This means, women with type 2 diabetes are much more likely to contract bladder and yeast infections, and usually find them more difficult to cure.
- Increased risk of depression: High blood sugar levels, along with weight gain that accompanies type 2 diabetes, makes the chance of developing depression or suffering from increased symptoms of depression, twice as likely for women with type 2 diabetes than men. (via Diabetes.org)
What you can do: If you currently suffer from type 2 diabetes, your best plan of action is to take control of your diet and workout plan. Most doctors recommend a minimum of 30 minutes of exercise every single day as well as a healthy diet that is low in sugar and high in protein, fruit, vegetables and whole grains. You should also try to keep stress to a minimum, as highly stressful situations tend to greatly elevate blood sugar levels.
If you suffer from type 2 diabetes, make sure you visit your doctor as suggested. Eliminate processed foods and excess sugars from your diet, and try to follow a regular exercise program of cardio and strength training. Keeping your weight and your blood sugar under control, can help to ease the symptoms of this disease, making it much more manageable long-term.