menopause and diabetes
What should you know about menopause and diabetes?

There’s no doubt that cases of diabetes are on the rise. In fact, experts predict that by the year 2050, one in every three adults in the United States could suffer from this chronic disease that disrupts hormones, affects how the body reacts to food and sugars (glucose), and can lead to obesity, heart disease and stroke if not managed properly.  

At Texas Diabetes & Endocrinology (TD&E), our board-certified endocrinology experts treat diabetes, along with other endocrinology disorders like osteoporosis, every day. 

One group in particular that is experiencing an uptick in diabetes diagnoses is menopausal women.  During menopause, estrogen levels decrease (because of diminishing ovarian reserves) which can cause weight gain leading to potential insulin resistance and difficulty metabolizing glucose. 

New research now shows that Type 2 Diabetes (T2D) is one of the most common health risks associated with postmenopausal women (up to age 55 years). 

This particular study evaluated 2,295 postmenopausal women and surveyed them and their propensity towards diabetes via blood tests, physical exams and measurements, and in-person interviews. 

Here’s what was found:

  • Lower levels of the hormones estrogen and progesterone are key factors in contributing to more cases of T2D in women over the age of 40
  • The prevalence of T2D increased in women with a greater BMI (Body Mass Index) and also elevated cholesterol levels 
  • Mood swings and hot flashes associated with menopause can cause poor sleep which is also a contributing factor to obesity, and therefore diabetes 

One of the most important things women can do to prevent diabetes brought on by menopause is to get screened.

“In support of recommendations by the American Diabetes Association, we suggest getting tested for diabetes every three years after the age of 45 if you are overweight or have a family history of the disease,”  says TD&E board-certified endocrinologist and diabetes expert Dr.  Jean Chen.

“Additionally, adopting a healthy lifestyle including eating a well-balanced, low fat and low cholesterol diet, and exercising regularly incorporating weight-bearing workouts can go a long way in helping to prevent diabetes as women approach menopause and this transitional phase in life.”

Diabetes Treatment for Women in Menopause 

Hormone Therapy (HT), or hormone replacement therapy and estrogen supplements, is the standard treatment for women experiencing severe menopausal symptoms. HT can help balance and regulate hormones which are depleted and improve symptoms like hot flashes, help with insulin function, and decrease the potential for developing diabetes. 

HT has also been shown to reduce the risk of osteoporosis (weakened bones), another common condition as women reach menopause. 

At TD&E, we offer individualized treatment plans to help effectively manage your diabetes through tools like weight management and insulin pumps.  We also provide extensive treatment options for osteoporosis and fracture prevention.  

Contact Us to Help Manage your Diabetes, Osteoporosis and Thyroid Conditions 

If you’d like to schedule an appointment with one of our specialists at Texas Diabetes & Endocrinology and discover how our diabetes services  and other endocrinology therapies can help you lead a full and active life, please contact us at (512) 458-8400 or request an appointment online.  

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