Diabetes affects both men and women, and diabetes symptoms in women are often the same as those in men. In the United States, more than 10% of women 20 years old and over have diabetes.
This chronic condition affects the body’s ability to absorb and utilize glucose or blood sugar. If left untreated, diabetes can lead to health complications such as cardiovascular disease, kidney damage, nerve damage, blindness, and skin infections.
Knowing the different diabetes symptoms in women is your first line of defense when it comes to managing the condition.
Diabetes Symptoms in Women and Men
A number of diabetes symptoms affect both men and women. These symptoms include:
- Excessive thirst. This is a very common diabetes symptom in women and can happen despite drinking plenty of water.
- Increased frequency of urination, especially at night. Although women often urinate more than men do, this can also be a diabetes symptom and is very common in women.
- Frequent hunger. Women who have diabetes can experience extreme hunger and an increase in appetite.
- Unwanted or unexplained loss. This diabetes symptom in men and women is caused by the body’s inability to utilize glucose for energy.
- Constant fatigue. Lack of energy makes men and women feel tired all the time.
- Blurred vision. High levels of glucose in the blood can accumulate in the lens of the eye, causing it to change in shape. This results in blurred vision.
- Tingling or numbness in the hands and feet. Failure to manage blood sugar levels can damage the nerves in the body’s extremities.
- Recurring infections and wounds that heal slowly. This diabetes symptom in women and men may be the result of a weakened immune system.
Diabetes Symptoms in Women
One of the symptoms that women with diabetes have is recurring vaginal infections.
Vaginal yeast infections may occur frequently especially if the blood sugar level is poorly controlled. If you get frequent vaginal or skin infections, it may be a good idea to ask your doctor if you may have diabetes.
Other Challenges for Women with Diabetes
Women who have diabetes often face additional challenges on top of the diabetes symptoms they may be experiencing.
They often have a higher risk for depression compared to women without diabetes. Blood sugar levels in women may also be affected by the menstrual cycle, birth control pills, and pregnancy.
Gestational diabetes is also a cause for concern in pregnant women. This special type of diabetes occurs only in women and affects approximately 4% of pregnant women who have no previous symptoms of diabetes.
Gestational diabetes can develop during the late stages of pregnancy. It is treatable and has no permanent effects on the mother or child.
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