In the United States alone, over 16 million cases of type 2 diabetes involve women. Men receive the diagnosis from their doctors more often, but women are more likely to develop critical complications.
Type 2 diabetes, simply put, is a chronic condition in the human body. The cells don’t receive adequate blood sugar for energy because they become less responsive to insulin. Insulin is the hormone that acts like a key that unlocks cell walls to allow blood sugar to enter. If the cells do not respond to the insulin, blood sugar floats in the blood and cannot do its job.
The female gender has unique circumstances that give a higher statistical rate than the male gender of experiencing complications from type 2 diabetes. Those complications include but are not limited to heart disease, kidney disease, stroke, dementia, depression, or anxiety.
Studies have explored one factor that may show why women have more health complications. Research has shown the sex hormone estrogen protects the female body from heart disease and kidney disease.
Women’s bodies don’t respond as well to the protection estrogen provides when blood sugars are too high.
Estrogen also modifies the production and the effects of endorphins, the “feel-good “ chemicals. So if diabetes alters estrogen levels, women run the risk of experiencing depression and anxiety.
Another possible reason women have more health complications may be the need for women to care for others more often than providing necessary care for themselves. Many women frequently succumb to the demands of the family instead of viewing their body’s needs as a priority.
Type 2 diabetes is a hazardous health condition that requires close monitoring by both patient and physician. Lifestyle changes that include maintaining a healthy weight, routine exercising, avoiding smoking, and consistent blood sugar monitoring will enhance the advice and medications prescribed by the physician. Some of recommended medications have serious side effects and are poorly tolerated, leading to poor compliance with medication protocol.
Many women and men have been able to reverse and/or control diabetes without using any medications. How you might ask?
There is no such thing as a perfect diet for diabetes management that has proven successful–there has been a variety of healthy eating styles. Close monitoring of blood sugar levels can help individuals realize what foods have the most dramatic effect on their bodies.
Diet recommendations that are commonly agreed upon by the medical community are:
- Consume more non-starchy vegetables
- Minimize ANY added sugars and refined grains
- Choose whole foods and NOT eating packaged shelf products
- Reduce or avoiding bread
- Eliminate fried foods
- Avoid heavy gravies and sauces
- Drink water as your primary beverage
Studies of type 2 diabetes encourage that patients be thoroughly educated about their condition and have support from family and friends. Armed with knowledge and purpose, the person with type 2 diabetes can make the lifestyle changes necessary for their success.
It is a MUST HAVE tool that is at your disposal and should be used daily or minimum 5 times a week. Type of exercise is very important! Strength training or resistance training with bands or weights is crucial to improve or reverse insulin resistance, and ultimately help you lose weight.
Cardio exercise like cycling, treadmill/elliptical, or walking etc. helps your mood and cardio-vascular risk, improves your energy and your focus and overall energy but, will ultimately it will not help your weight loss, which will be required if you are obese or overweight and have diabetes.
There are herbal supplements that are proven to help control Diabetes or improve insulin resistance.
Best know are:
- Gymnema Sylvestre
- Alpha Lipoic Acid
- Bitter Melon
- Milk Thistle
- Holy Basil
- Aloe Vera
Please do not discontinue your medication or try a new supplement without discussing first with your physician. Also keep in mind some herbal supplements interact with medications you might already be taking, so please be aware of possible interactions before trying them. Herbs and supplements are usually a complementary tool and will not replace medications you might need, but a lower dose with less side effects could be possible.
4. Sex Hormone Balance
Aging and declining ovarian function will bring in a decline in sex hormones like Estrogen and Testosterone. Not only there will be symptoms like fatigue and poor sleep due to hot flashes, which will affect motivation and desire for exercise and increase cravings for sweets, but loss of Estrogen is also associated with an increase insulin resistance.
Hormone Replacement Therapy (HRT) has been proven to improve insulin resistance. At HERA Health Care we believe in addressing the problem, rather than treating the symptoms. If menopause is causing you to gain weight, it worsens or causes diabetes, it contributes or causes an increase in Blood Pressure etc. then all these conditions can be reversed by replacing the hormone deficiency that is causing/contributing to them. Please call us to schedule an appointment at 805-379-9110 or click here to book an appointment.
5. Address Cortisol and Manage Stress
It is well known that elevated cortisol levels for a persistent time can lead to increase in blood sugar, insulin resistance and then diabetes. Stress will make your body release more cortisol and adrenaline and lead to sugar elevations as your body is preparing for a “fight or flight” reaction.
STRESS MANAGEMENT will be a crucial tool to improve your sugar levels. Consider yoga, meditation, Tai-Qi, regular exercise, adequate restful good quality sleep and ultimately eliminating or avoiding toxic people from your life. Think about changing your environment, finding a less stressful job, and resolving existing conflict.
Research by the medical community about the unique conditions and consequences that affect women with type 2 diabetes is expanding. Also of equal importance is the attention to the struggle that women with the diagnosis feel. Pressures of life and care of their families never let up for many women.
Empathy by physicians and support systems will go a long way in advancing communication and care planning for women with diabetic diagnoses. Even though there is no cure for diabetes yet, many patients can have an opportunity to feel good about nurturing themselves to a healthy, energetic way of life. Seek a provider that will listen to you, perform a thorough evaluation of your specific individual risk factors and can help you set up a treatment plan that you are on board with, and will help you succeed.