Diabetes and menopause

Managing diabetes and menopause at the same time.

Diabetes is a chronic condition many Americans live with on a daily basis. Women who are diabetic, in particular middle aged women have other bodily changes to consider in addition to living with diabetes. As women reach middle age, on average between ages 47-55, they must also contend with the changes that come from menopause.

Menopause is a gradual transition in the body that usually takes four or five years. The body stops producing hormones which can lead to various symptoms. These symptoms include hot flashes, mood swings, insomnia, fatigue, depression, memory problems and bone loss, among other signs. According to Dr. Seibel, MD and the Hormone Health Network, menopause and diabetes have many symptoms in common due to the hormone deficiencies. The reduction in estrogen production increases the risk of extreme fluctuations in blood sugar levels which can make managing diabetes more difficult. It is important to work with your primary care doctor during this time to manage the appropriate amount of diabetic medication and menopausal symptoms.

In addition to the medication for diabetes, diabetic women experiencing menopausal symptoms should consider the following steps to manage their symptoms.

  • Try to minimize stress and caffeine. Limit caffeine and alcohol, especially before bedtime.
  • Stick to a regular night time schedule to improve insomnia.
  •  It is important to exercise regularly to improve one's mood, improve sleep, stop weight gain and to balance hormone levels.
  • Improve your diet by eating nutrient dense whole foods.

Work with your doctor if your symptoms are severe or bothersome to you, and find supportive people who you can talk too. Women do not have to suffer alone from symptoms of diabetes and menopause. By following these simple steps, one can improve their health and feel great. For more information on health related issues, aging and diabetes, visit the Michigan State University Extension website.

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