Island Hospital
 
Women and Diabetes
10/31/2012

Today, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, more than 25 million people in the U.S. have diabetes. Of that total, just over half are women, and having the disease leaves them vulnerable to a broad range of serious health complications: 

·        Women with diabetes are more likely to have a heart attack than women without diabetes.
·        Women with diabetes are more likely to have heart failure than women without diabetes.
·        The risk of depression is higher in women with diabetes than in women without diabetes.
·        Women with diabetes may experience recurrent yeast infections. This is more likely when the blood glucose 
      levels are higher than normal.  

Women and men should be aware of the risk factors for diabetes. According to the American Diabetes Association, those who are greater risk for this disease are:

·         People with impaired glucose tolerance (IGT) and/or impaired fasting glucose (IFG)
·         People over age 45
·         People with a family history of diabetes
·         People who are overweight
·         People who do not exercise regularly
·         People with low HDL cholesterol or high triglycerides, high blood pressure
·         Certain racial and ethnic groups (e.g., Non-Hispanic Blacks, Hispanic/Latino Americans, Asian Americans and
      Pacific Islanders, and American Indians and Alaska Natives)
·         Women who had gestational diabetes, or who have had a baby weighing nine pounds or more at birth.

For more information on diabetes, visit www.diabetes.org.

Gestational Diabetes

Gestational diabetes develops in about the 24th week of pregnancy in women who did not have diabetes before they became pregnant. According to the American Diabetes Association, gestational diabetes affects about 18% of pregnancies in the U.S.

Women with gestational diabetes are not able to make and use all the insulin their body needs during pregnancy. This leads to high levels of glucose in the blood. This extra glucose is passed through the placenta to the baby. If the mother’s blood glucose remains too high, the baby may become too large. This can increase the baby's risk during delivery of experiencing breathing problems and of becoming obese during childhood and adolescence. Women who have had gestational diabetes are at higher risk of developing type 2 diabetes later in life.

As yet, there is no cure for diabetes, but researchers are making gains in understanding the disease, how to treat it and how to prevent it. If you already have diabetes, there are actions you can take to stay as healthy as possible. The Diabetes Education Program at Island Hospital can help you live better with diabetes and support your efforts with options, answers and education. The program provides support for all types of diabetes.

For more information on the Diabetes Education Program at Island Hospital contact (360) 588-2083, diabetes-ed@islandhospital.org