Six out of every 100 women live with undetected diabetes in Maharashtra, according to a survey of five lakh women above the age of 30. Not only that. More and more young women, those between 30 and 45, are getting diagnosed. Diabetes in women is different from men as the hormonal fluctuations impact sugar levels in the former. Dr Anil Bhoraskar, senior diabetologist at SL Raheja Hospital and secretary of Diabetic Association of India (Scientific Section), says women should prioritise early screening, tests and optimal weight management.
Are younger women developing diabetes?
It has been observed nationally that there has been a rise in diabetes among women, especially between the age group of 18 to 35 years.
What kind of a health impact does it have on women?
These women are susceptible to obesity or complications related to vascular diseases. Women, particularly during the child-bearing years, experience hormonal changes periodically and, therefore, are vulnerable to insulin resistance. Then women with Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome (PCOS) have a higher level of insulin resistance, thereby creating a vast number of pre-diabetic women. Pre-diabetes is considered as a forerunner of Type 2 diabetes. Also, if these patients become pregnant, then they may develop gestational diabetes which is also considered pre-diabetes.
What precautions should be taken?
All these problems can be avoided if a healthy diet is followed from a young age and unhealthy foods are avoided, including fat, dense calorie milkshakes, chips, ultra -processed food and soft drinks. Adolescents should be encouraged to indulge in outdoor sports as it will help avoid early onset and PCOD. Those susceptible should watch out for hormone imbalances during puberty which may cause an abnormal weight gain. If proper steps are not taken, particularly about diet, physical activities and judicious use of certain anti-insulin resistance drugs such as Metformin, these women can develop Type 2 diabetes in no time.
If a woman is found to be diabetic at a young age, she could suffer complications while conceiving. If diabetic, it could hamper her work life as most women suffer stress at the workplace. Also, irrespective of their health conditions, women are care-givers in their family. Hence, a woman should look after her own health, maintain an optimal body weight and undergo medical tests often.
How is diabetes among men different from women?
Hormonal fluctuations are more in women. Besides, their muscle mass is lesser than men. So the energy expended by metabolism in the muscles is lower than that of men. That’s why women are more vulnerable to insulin resistance as well as obesity. Also, pregnancy is a stressful event, resulting in adverse effects on their endocrine apparatus. That’s why in India we find more women with Type 2 diabetes.
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Rupsa ChakrabortyRupsa Chakraborty, is a special correspondent with The Indian Express'… read more


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