Gender plays an interesting role in how diabetes affects those with the condition. For example, pregnant women carrying a baby boy are at a higher risk of developing gestational diabetes than mothers of girls. New research has revealed another way that diabetes affects men and women differently—studies in China and Italy have shown that women with diabetes are at a greater risk of having heart attacks than men with diabetes.–>
In the Chinese study, Dr. Xue Dong of the Affiliated ZhongDa Hospital of Southeast University of China and his team looked at studies from 1966-2014 and analyzed health data of nearly 11 million individuals. Their research revealed that women diagnosed with diabetes are 40% more likely to have acute coronary syndromes than men with diabetes. An Italian study, led by Dr. Giuseppe Seghieri from the Regional Health Agency in Florence, looked at reports from 2005-2012 and over three million individuals. Researchers found that women with diabetes had a 34% higher risk of a heart attack than men with the condition.
About one-third of the 16 million Americans with diabetes don’t know that they have the condition. Women with gestational diabetes also have a greater risk of developing type 2 diabetes later in life, and research has shown that women with diabetes are three times as likely to develop heart disease than women without it. Men with diabetes also experience adverse changes to their heart, but not to the same degree as in women with diabetes. Although diabetes affects men and women differently, both genders should take the condition seriously and work with their doctors on a treatment plan.
Gestational diabetes can be a real source of stress and concern for mothers. On top of stocking up on supplies for the baby and pouring over parenting books, mothers with gestational diabetes also have to regularly check their blood sugar and be extra careful about their diet.
A new study found that a mother’s risk of developing gestational diabetes is actually affected by the baby’s gender. Dr. Baiju Shah, one of the authors of the study, said that a “male fetus leads to greater pregnancy-associated metabolic changes than a female fetus does.” In the study, researchers collected data from insurance records on about 643,000 women who had their first child between April 2000 and March 2010. Although the risk of developing gestational diabetes is greater with a boy, the study also showed that mothers with gestational diabetes carrying a girl had an increased risk of type 2 diabetes post-pregnancy. Gestational diabetes occurs as a result of combined underlying metabolic abnormalities that the mother has plus the metabolic changes that happen during pregnancy.
Gestational diabetes generally develops during the 24th week of pregnancy, according to the Amercian Diabetes Association. As many as 9.2% of mothers develop gestational diabetes, and the condition develops when a mother’s body is unable to create and use all the insulin needed for pregnancy. Left untreated, gestational diabetes can be dangerous to the baby, increasing their risk of conditions like obesity, type 2 diabetes, and breathing problems. By working with a doctor to develop a treatment plan, mothers with gestational diabetes can greatly improve their health and the health of the baby.
Lack of sleep can cause more than dark under eye circles and a surly demeanor. Some more well-known risks from insufficient sleep are increased risk of stroke, obesity and diabetes, anxiety and depression, and heart disease. A new study by Taiwanese researchers showed that another obstructive sleep apnea (OSA) comorbidity is osteoporosis.
The Journal of Clinical Endocrinology & Metabolism study found that new cases of osteoporosis were 2.7 times higher in OSA patients than those without the disorder, and the association was stronger in women and older adults. Sleep apnea’s deprivation of oxygen to the body was a factor in weakening bones. The study followed 1,377 people with OSA, and 20,655 people without OSA for six years.
Managing OSA with a Continuous Positive Air Pressure (CPAP) machine is the best way to reduce risk factors like osteoporosis. Exercising, limiting alcohol consumption, not smoking, and a diet high in vitamin D and calcium are additional ways to prevent the onset of osteoporosis.
Photo courtesy of American Lung Association
It’s often tough to work up the motivation to make a trip to the gym, but it’s even harder for those who experience asthma symptoms triggered by exercising. Post-workout, individuals with exercise-induced asthma, or exercise-induced bronchospasm (EIB), may experience wheezing, coughing, and difficulty catching their breath. Active Healthcare Account Representative Janice Stewart shared with me her own experience with EIB, and explained which treatment was effective for her.
Ten years ago, Janice was diagnosed with pneumonia and her doctor gave her an inhaler as part of her treatment. Since then, she noticed that she would periodically have trouble with wheezing, usually after using the treadmill or sometimes when her daily allergy medicine wore off. Janice got relief by using her inhaler after her workout, but she remained curious as to the root cause of her symptoms. Several months ago over lunch, I happened to be chatting with Janice about exercise-induced asthma and she realized that EIB might be the cause of her post-workout breathing problems.
Janice met with her doctor who confirmed that her symptoms sounded like a case of EIB. Janice’s doctor prescribed a new inhaler and an additional allergy medication to go with her daily Zyrtec. She now has a more proactive approach to managing her exercise-induced asthma. Thirty minutes before working out, Janice uses her new inhaler and now only experiences issues if she’s doing an advanced cardio workout.
“With my new medication regimen I am able to now do exercises that increase my heart rate without having to sit down afterwards to wait for the wheezing to clear,” says Janice. “I can recoup a lot quicker. I have also noticed that with the additional medications that my allergy symptoms have been more manageable as well.”
Janice’s advice for individuals who have trouble breathing after exercise is to pay close attention to what your body is telling you—don’t ignore your symptoms. Janice wishes she had seen her doctor sooner for treatment so she could have spent less time suffering through her workouts.
It’s common knowledge that regular aerobic exercise reduces the risk of diabetes, but a recent study revealed strength training, or anaerobic exercise, also reduces the risk of Type 2 diabetes in women. The Nurses Health Study from the Harvard School of Public Health found that women who do strength training exercises just an hour a week reduce their risk of developing diabetes by 14 percent. Over 150 minutes of weekly conditioning exercises reduces the risk by 40 percent.
This study also showed that you don’t need to run off to the gym and grab the biggest dumbbell available. Exercises like yoga and stretching are also great diabetes prevention activities. Researchers aren’t sure why yoga and stretching are also beneficial to reducing the risk of diabetes, but they think it may be linked to the effect these exercises have on lowering the loss of lean muscle mass or on how the body processes glucose. An added benefit to building lean muscle mass is that you burn more calories when your body is at rest.
Health.gov recommends moderate exercise for 150 minutes (2 hours 30 minutes) a week (a little over 20 minutes a day), and doing strength training at least twice a week. If just the thought of going to the gym makes you sweat, start small. Fit 10-minute increments of exercise into your schedule and slowly build up to longer periods of activity.