Even in the 21st century where women are seen as empowered, attention to one’s health is largely ignored. This is especially true in a country like India where a woman continues to find herself in a caretaker role for the family at the cost of her own well being. Gender bias is still largely prevalent and thus attention to women’s health is more often than not, a hit and miss situation.

Diabetes is a chronic disease where the blood sugar levels are extremely high and the pancreas of the affected person produce very little or no insulin or doesn’t react to insulin in the correct manner.

Insulin is required by the body to convert glucose into energy. Without it, glucose levels in the blood continue to rise and can lead to life-threatening complications. The number of people affected by diabetes run into hundreds of millions for both type 1 and type 2 diabetes and each year more than a million new cases are diagnosed.

Efforts are on in full swing across the globe to enlighten people about this debilitating illness since countless numbers suffer from diabetes complications on a daily basis without even knowing they have it.

Having type 1 diabetes (where the pancreas produces little or no insulin) is more problematic for women than men since it is reported that they have an almost forty percent risk of dying by any cause and more than double the risk of dying due to heart disease. Research also reveals that they are more likely to die from strokes and kidney disease than men.
In type 2 diabetes, the pancreas produces insulin but the body is unable to use the insulin properly for some reason. Doctors call this insulin resistance. Women should pay close attention when it comes to following a healthy diet plan and getting adequate physical exercise. It is also crucial that heart health is maintained and many types of infections are kept in checks like urinary tract infections (UTI) and vaginal infections.

Gestational diabetes is a form of diabetes that affects only pregnant women. Pregnancy hormones interfere with the insulin hormone and compel the body to produce more of it. In many cases, the insulin produced is still not enough and the result is gestational diabetes. It usually disappears after the pregnancy but in some cases may develop into type 2 diabetes.

How can you protect yourself against diabetes?

Watch out for the warning signs. Sometimes they might appear quite mild and indistinct. This is quite common with type 2 diabetes. The common symptoms of diabetes are an increase in thirst, frequent urination, constant hunger, sudden weight loss, extreme tiredness, blurry vision, cuts and wounds that take more than the regular amount of time to heal and frequent infections of the gums, skin and vaginal area.

Women play a number of different roles as they go about their lives and often their own needs get neglected. Information is power, the power to seize the day and make better, calculated choices. If you feel that the above symptoms could apply to you, especially if you are over the age of 40, now is a good time to visit your doctor and find out if you could be at risk for diabetes. Regular health check-ups will keep you informed about any condition you might have and greatly improve and expedite your chances at recovery.

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