Caring for women with diabetes

Posted by: admin on: June 30, 2011

Women present unique disease-management challenges for clinicians whether they suffer from type 1, type 2 or gestational diabetes.

  • One-in-three women with diabetes will die from heart disease compared to one in nine women without the condition.
  • In fact, women with diabetes generally have shorter life spans than women without the disease, and are more likely than men to lose their eyesight.
  • They often face more severe complications from uncontrolled diabetes and might also have other conditions, such as eating disorders or depression that can complicate treatment.
  • Pregnant women with diabetes have a higher risk for miscarriage and birth defects.
  • Furthermore, children born to mothers with diabetes are more likely to develop obesity and diabetes themselves.
  • All patients diagnosed with diabetes are educated to self-manage the condition and should not only include basic information about nutrition and glucose control but also psychosocial issues.
  • Patients who are unhappy or stressed may not manage their disease properly.
  • One of the most powerful ways to control diabetes is through diet and exercise, but women with diabetes may need help and support to make these changes.
  • Stick to a diet that incorporates at least 14 grams of fiber daily for every 1,000 calories consumed
  • Focus on cholesterol-reducing high-fiber foods such as oatmeal, whole-grain breads, cereals, dried beans, fruits and vegetables;
  • Reduce intake of saturated fats, trans fats and cholesterol;
  • Exercise at least 30 minutes on most days
  • Lose weight.
  • Weight management is another critical step in helping women live well with diabetes.
  • Women with diabetes also have other risk factors including smoking, high cholesterol or uncontrolled BP that make heart disease even more likely.
  • Target BP should remain lower than 130/80 mm Hg.
  • Women with diabetes who are planning a pregnancy should undergo a thorough evaluation for diabetic retinopathy, nephropathy and cardiovascular disease.
  • There is also special urgency when it comes to treating pregnant women who develop gestational diabetes, as it goes hand in hand with other conditions including hypertension, preeclampsia and infections.
  • Women with gestational diabetes are more likely to require a caesarean section because the infant may be too large for a vaginal delivery.
  • Women who develop gestational diabetes should also inform their child’s paediatrician that they had the condition, so that their child’s growth is monitored and potential problems are caught early.
  • Women with gestational diabetes should not only be taught to manage their condition, but also about the risk for type 2 diabetes after pregnancy.
  • Women who are overweight and sedentary are more likely to develop type 2 diabetes after gestational diabetes.

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