Menopause and diabetes will be discussed on this page, after learning exactly what diabetes is.
Diabetes is a metabolic disorder characterized by our body’s decreased ability or complete inability to utilize carbohydrates. Carbohydrates are normally broken down within the body in the form of glucose, our body’s main energy source.
Insulin is the protein hormone created in the beta cells of the pancreas, and it is secreted into the blood stream in response to high levels of glucose in the blood. Insulin is essential for transporting the glucose in the blood across the cell membranes where it is converted into energy.
Our body cannot absorb glucose directly into its cells, so insulin must be present in order for glucose to get into our cells and be put to work.
However, for someone with diabetes there is an insufficient production of insulin and therefore the glucose is prevented from getting to the cells and being converted to energy.
Instead the glucose accumulates in the bloodstream. When this happens the result is symptoms ranging from mental confusion to coma. Some of the major symptoms of diabetes are: excessive thirst, frequent urination, increased appetite and loss of weight.
Types Of Diabetes
There are two major types of diabetes:
Type I Diabetes is also called insulin dependent diabetes. This is sometimes referred to as juvenile diabetes because it most often begins in childhood, but it can also occur in adults.
Because the body does not manufacture insulin, people with Type I Diabetes must take insulin shots to live. Less than ten percent of people who have diabetes have Type I.
Type II Diabetes is also called adult-onset-diabetes. In this case the body may make insulin, but either it makes too little insulin or the body cannot use what insulin it makes. In other words, the body makes insulin but it cannot convert the glucose in the blood so it can be utilized by the cells of the body.
This is called insulin resistance where the cells of our body become less and less responsive to our own insulin and so not enough glucose is allowed to enter our cells. Type II
Diabetes occurs most commonly in people over age forty.
Menopause And Diabetes
As women when we enter our 40’s we may begin experiencing symptoms of peri menopause as our estrogen and progesterone levels fluctuate and begin decreasing.
These symptoms include: fatigue, sweating, dizziness, inability to concentrate, mood swings and irritability. So if you have diabetes, it can be hard to tell the difference between menopausal symptoms and symptoms of high or low blood sugar.
The hormonal fluctuations of menopause have varied effects on our blood glucose, and these effects can range from mild to wreaking havoc on our blood glucose balance.
With less progesterone you may have greater insulin sensitivity, but with less estrogen you can also have increased insulin resistance. And the decrease in both estrogen and progesterone can cause other changes which may worsen diabetic complications:
- As your body produces less estrogen your body becomes more resistant to insulin which can cause your blood sugar levels to rise
- As your body produces less progesterone your body is more receptive to insulin and this can cause your blood sugar levels to drop
So for women in menopause who have diabetes controlling the symptoms of menopause, using hormone replacement therapy, HRT, can be a challenge.
It has been said that women with diabetes can’t take hormone replacement therapy because of how it affects their blood sugar.
This makes the case that for menopausal women who have diabetes it is important to explore alternative, natural hormone replacement options as well as natural products that help control your diabetes. I can assist you with suggestions on some very good products that do just that!
Another factor for menopausal women who have diabetes is the ability to control the level of homocysteine in the blood. Homocysteine is an amino acid that is transported throughout the body in the blood. Hormones have a big influence on controlling homocysteine.
When the ovaries stop producing estrogen and progesterone during menopause, homocysteine levels rise. Higher levels of homocysteine, as documented in the American Journal of Medicine, are linked to the development of heart disease, stroke, diabetes and Alzheimer’s disease, among others.
There is a new study that indicates that Metformin treatment increases the level of homocysteine in Type II diabetes patients who take insulin.
The best way to control and detoxify elevated levels of homocysteine in the blood is by taking a combination of the B Vitamins: B-12, B-6 and Folic Acid. I can assist you with a product suggestion for controlling homocysteine.
Post Menopause And Diabetes
After menopause the risk of vaginal yeast infections, vaginitis, increases for women with diabetes. As estrogen levels decrease, yeast and bacteria have an easier time growing, especially if blood glucose levels are frequently too high.
Yeast thrives in warm, moist places with a good supply of glucose. Some suggestions that may help prevent or control yeast infections are:
- Lessen problems during post menopause and diabetes complications by working at keeping your blood glucose levels under control
- Lessen problems during post menopause and diabetes complications by using natural hormone replacement products
- Lessen problems during post menopause and diabetes complications by taking a digestive enzyme/acidophilus supplement to help keep the balance of good bacteria in your system
The Importance Of Supplements For Women In Menopause And Diabetes
The word diabetes means “siphon,” so water-soluble vitamins and several minerals are excreted in abundance by women with menopause and diabetes. So an adequate supplementation of vitamins and minerals is extremely important in the management of menopause and diabetes.
Minerals like chromium and vanadium are known to assist the function of insulin and current research shows that calcium and magnesium are important for the control of blood glucose and insulin receptor function.
Soy is also valuable in the management of menopause and diabetes, as we discussed earlier.