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Type 2 Diabetes Complications: Just the Ladies

Type 2 Diabetes Complications: Just the Ladies

I recently wrote about the special issues only the fellas have to deal with when it comes to Type 2 Diabetes.

Ladies, now it’s your turn.

One of the biggest concerns is related to pregnancy, both before and during.

If you’re thinking of getting pregnant, know this: Women with diabetes, especially those who have poorly controlled diabetes, are more likely to give birth to babies with birth defects. The risk is especially high during the first seven weeks of pregnancy, as this is when the baby’s organs are developing, and having high blood glucose during this time can negatively impact the fetus.

In addition, women with Type 2 Diabetes who become pregnant are more likely to have a large baby, give birth preterm, or have blood loss during delivery.

With this in mind, you’ll want to get your blood sugar under control before considering pregnancy, preferably at least three to six months beforehand.

Once you become pregnant, the challenges change. It’s likely you’ll be unable to continue on any diabetes medications you were taking and will need to switch to insulin. In addition, you’ll probably need to check your blood sugar more frequently during pregnancy (up to eight times a day!) to ensure that it’s within the range your healthcare provider has given you.

The American Diabetes Association suggests getting together a team of people to help you through pregnancy, including a doctor who has experience treating pregnant women with diabetes, an OB/GYN who deals specifically with high risk pregnancies, a pediatrician who can treat babies who may have problems associated being born to a mother who has diabetes, and an RD who can update and change your meal plan as your needs change throughout pregnancy.

If babies aren’t in your future, you’re not completely out of the woods. You should also know that, as a women with Type 2 Diabetes, your risk for heart disease is six times greater than that of a woman without the condition, and for some reason, heart events appear to be more likely to be fatal in women with diabetes than men with diabetes.

Why the difference? It may be because women don’t realize that symptoms such as nausea, shortness of breath, or back or jaw pain can be a sign of a heart event, so they don’t seek help, and often their doctors don’t discuss the increased risk of heart events. Now that you know, though, you can ask your doctor for more information and learn more about your risks.

You’re also more likely to struggle with depression then a man with diabetes, and having both Type 2 Diabetes and depression makes you twice as likely to die early as compared to a woman without depression. There’s also some evidence that women with Type 2 Diabetes are more likely to have an eating disorder, especially Binge Eating Disorder.

What can you do about all of this? Take the best care of yourself possible. Eat well, stay active, keep your blood glucose levels within their target ranges, maintain a healthy weight, and keep stress to a minimum. In other words, everything you’re already doing to take care of yourself? Keep it up, and do more if and when you can.

This article represents the opinions, thoughts, and experiences of the author; none of this content has been paid for by any advertiser. The team does not recommend or endorse any products or treatments discussed herein. Learn more about how we maintain editorial integrity here.