Many women exhibit warning signs and symptoms of diabetes, or the risk for diabetes, and it goes unknown and undiagnosed. It is estimated that there is currently more than 7 million undiagnosed cases of diabetes in the United States, and approximately one-third of these cases are women.
The problem is most women focus on caring for others, including work and the home, that we fail to pay attention to our own bodies and health. Yet, diabetes is a chronic illness that cannot be limitedly managed. Thus, it is of the utmost importance that as women, we make the necessary time to make annual healthcare appointments, and learn the risk factors, signs and symptoms.
With that being said, let’s discuss how diabetes affects women and what you can do…
Women’s Atypical Risk Factors of Diabetes
Recurrent Yeast Infections
High levels of glucose in the blood can cause fungus growth, and spark opportunistic infections—yeast infections.
Most vaginal yeast infections are caused by the organism Candida Albicans. Yeast infections are very common and affect up to 75% of women at some point in their lifetime.
The main symptom of a vaginal yeast infection is itching, but burning, discharge, and pain with urination or intercourse can also occur.
It is possible for a woman to transmit a yeast infection to a male sex partner, even though yeast infection is not considered to be a true sexually-transmitted disease (STD) because it can occur in women who are not sexually active.
Treatment involves topical or oral anti-fungal medications. And, keeping the vaginal area dry and avoiding irritating chemicals can help prevent yeast infections in women.
Polycystic Ovary Syndrome (PCOS)
Polycystic Ovary Syndrome is a painful condition that typically occurs when our hormones are unbalanced.
Some of the Symptoms of PCOS include:
- Irregular menstrual cycle.
- Women with PCOS may miss periods or have fewer periods (fewer than eight in a year). Or, their periods may come every 21 days or more often. Some women with PCOS stop having menstrual periods.
- Too much hair on the face, chin, or parts of the body where men usually have hair. This is called “hirsutism.”
- Hirsutism affects up to 70% of women with PCOS.
- Acne on the face, chest, and upper back.
- Thinning hair or hair loss on the scalp; male-pattern baldness.
- Weight gain or difficulty losing weight.
- Darkening of skin, particularly along neck creases, in the groin, and underneath breasts
- Skin tags, which are small excess flaps of skin in the armpits or neck area
In any case, the end result is generally the development of cysts on the ovary, which can too lead to the development of diabetes, if left untreated.
Urinary Tract Infections
Diabetes often causes poor circulation in the body and can stop white blood cells from traveling through the bloodstream to eliminate infections. As a result, women with diabetes often experience frequent urinary tract infections (UTIs). We advise you to please seek a doctor’s care as soon as you detect a possible infection, which can help you find out if you have diabetes, or not, and if you can prevent a more serious kidney infection.
The following are Common Symptoms of a UTI:
- A burning feeling when you urinate.
- A frequent or intense urge to urinate, even though little comes out when you do.
- Pain or pressure in your back or lower abdomen.
- Cloudy, dark, bloody, or strange-smelling urine.
- Feeling tired or shaky.
- Fever or chills (a sign the infection may have reached your kidneys
Common Signs & Symptoms of Diabetes :
- Urinating often
- Feeling very thirsty
- Feeling very hungry – even though you are eating
- Extreme fatigue
- Blurry vision
- Cuts/bruises that are slow to heal
- Weight loss or Weight gain
- Tingling, pain, or numbness in the hands/feet
So ladies, pay attention to your bodies because early detection and treatment of diabetes can decrease the risk of developing the complications of diabetes.