According to the American Diabetes Association, an astounding 29 million Americans have diabetes and the number is increasing every year. It’s highly likely that everybody knows somebody suffering from diabetes.1
Most of the youth today are being diagnosed with Type 2 diabetes, a condition that was thought to occur only in “old people.” Every 23 seconds, someone is diagnosed with diabetes and 86 million Americans are at the risk of developing the disease. Diabetes is the seventh leading cause of death, causing more deaths than AIDS and breast cancer combined.
How Is It Related To Menopause?
Many women today are likely to develop diabetes in menopause. But according to a study at the National Institutes of Health, this is not because women are in menopause.2 The study instead suggests that the lifestyle during menopause can be a risk factor. This includes stress eating, reduced exercise, aging, and hormone-related weight gain. So you could say that menopause increases a women’s risk of diabetes indirectly.
According to a report from the Mayo Clinic, women in menopause can experience many health-related challenges that can impact blood sugar and insulin levels. For example, changes in estrogen and progesterone can lead to blood sugar fluctuations and how the cells respond to insulin. Blood sugar fluctuations can also occur due to changes in sleep patterns, weight gain, and stress eating.3 So what can be done to reduce the risk?
Have Foods Low On The Glycemic Index
Consume a diet rich in organic-plant-based foods that are low on the glycemic index.4 The glycemic index is a measure of how fast a type of food raises blood sugar. Some foods contain a lot of sucrose or plain sugar and thus cause a spike in the blood sugar. Foods low on the glycemic index gradually let your body adjust to the slowly rising blood sugar.
Exercising regularly helps regulate your blood sugar level. It not only helps you check your weight but also burns sugars, maintains or increases muscle mass, and thereby decreases insulin resistance. This means that your body will do a better job of utilizing the natural sugars in food as energy. According to one study, moderate intensity walking for 30 minutes three to seven days a week helped improve insulin resistance. This, in turn, helps regulate blood sugars. Including resistance training, such as lifting light weights or using resistance bands, and working each muscle group a couple of days a week can further optimize insulin sensitivity.5
A stress response releases hormones that cue the body to release higher levels of glucose; the physical response to stress also requires more energy, resulting in more sugar in the blood stream. Practice meditation regularly and/or deep breathing exercises. Say no to the things that do not have a positive effect on you. Get out more often in the midst of nature; take a breath of fresh air.
Certain supplements taken when necessary may help regulate your blood sugar and improve insulin release including magnesium, chromium, and vanadium. Adding 5–30 grams of fenugreek every day to your diet as a tea, seeds, supplements, or spices can also help with blood sugar control. In fact, there has been a study showing that a daily dose of 10 grams of fenugreek seeds helped to control diabetes.
Eliminate grains from your diet that tend to be high in simple sugars, such as corn, wheat, rye, and barley.
These 5 tips are important in not only reducing a women’s risk of diabetes but also improving their overall health through healthy lifestyle practices.
|↑1||American Diabetes Month® 2016: This is Diabetes, diabetes.org|
|↑2||Kim, Catherine, Sharon L. Edelstein, Jill P. Crandall, Dana Dabelea, Abbas E. Kitabchi, Richard F. Hamman, Maria G. Montez, Leigh Perreault, Mary A. Foulkes, and Elizabeth Barrett-Connor. “Menopause and risk of diabetes in the Diabetes Prevention Program.” Menopause (New York, NY) 18, no. 8 (2011): 857.|
|↑3||Diabetes and menopause: A twin challenge, mayoclinic.org|
|↑4||About Glycemic Index, glycemicindex.com|
|↑5||Colberg, Sheri. The 7 Step Diabetes Fitness Plan: Living Well and Being Fit with Diabetes, No Matter Your Weight. Da Capo Press, 2006.|