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.  

Don’t forget to follow us on Facebook and Instagram and check back with us each month as we provide you helpful wellness and health information.

nonalcoholic fatty liver disease
T2D and Non-Alcoholic Fatty Liver Disease (NAFLD)

Diabetes is a serious condition that not only causes hormonal and blood sugar imbalances, but can also damage nerves, blood vessels and other organs. Common side effects of diabetes include poor circulation, non-healing foot and leg ulcers, vision loss, kidney damage and liver disease.  

At Texas Diabetes & Endocrinology (TD&E), our board-certified endocrinology experts treat diabetes and help with the many other issues that coincide with it, like Non-Alcoholic Fatty Liver Disease (NAFLD). 

Here’s what you should know about the liver and diabetes related NAFLD…

The liver performs many functions including helping to regulate blood sugar levels, making vital proteins, and filtering toxins and chemicals from your blood. The liver can be damaged by alcohol, hepatitis, autoimmune diseases but much more commonly from fat accumulation which is called NAFLD.  

NAFLD can lead to serious complications such as liver cirrhosis, or scarring that could cause potential liver failure. 

Research shows that up to 70% of those living with type 2 diabetes (T2D) also have NAFLD. 

How is NAFLD diagnosed?

NAFLD is usually asymptomatic.  There are blood tests that can suggest the diagnosis but the best non-invasive test isa dedicated screening called FibroScan.  

TD&E is one of the only endocrinology clinics in Austin to offer this innovative diagnostic test to closely examine the liver. FibroScan uses ultrasound imaging to assess liver tissue and can quantify fat accumulation and the degree of liver damage., 

If you have T2D and abnormal liver labs or other risk factors such as obesity or high cholesterol your endocrinologist may suggest a FibroScan to assess your liver health. 

How do you treat NAFLD? 

While there currently is no cure for NAFLD, the same healthy lifestyle changes recommended to help manage diabetes can also help to slow, or even reverse, liver damage and decrease fatty buildup, including:

  • Maintaining a healthy weight, or losing weight if overweight or obese
  • Eating a well-balanced diet to lower high cholesterol levels 
  • Staying physically active and aiming for at least 150 minutes of exercise per week
  • Controlling your diabetes and blood glucose levels as directed by your endocrinologist
  • Avoiding alcohol or consuming in moderation

If you are living with T2D and have other risk factors for NAFLD, speak with your physician about getting screened. 

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.  

Don’t forget to follow us on Facebook and Instagram and check back with us each month as we provide you helpful wellness and health information.

Overcoming the Odds: T2D Patient’s Journey to Marathon Success

Adopting the philosophy of ‘mind over matter’ can have a powerful impact on many aspects of life. In many instances of illness or injury, people can often conjure up herculean efforts to boost their physical and mental well-being, alongside therapeutic intervention, to overcome a medical or health challenge. 

This is something that our 52-year-old patient Bhushan Karle was able to accomplish when he transitioned from living with type 2 diabetes (T2D) heavily reliant on medication and insulin to taking charge of his health and becoming a marathoner who now needs minimal medications.

Bhushan’s Story 

Bhushan was diagnosed with T2D in his early thirties. His parents also had diabetes, and he remembers them needing heavy doses of insulin while growing up in India. 

His initial reaction to the diagnosis was one of disappointment in himself for not taking better care of his health after seeing how his parents suffered from this condition.  Bhushan’s first treatment involved a combination of insulin and many pills until he met Texas Diabetes endocrinologist and diabetes specialist Dr. Keta Pandit.

She re-evaluated him and explored a variety of medications before eventually weaning him off of an insulin pump due to complications.

Taking Control of his Health 

Once he got off his pump, Bhushan made a conscious decision to radically shift his mindset and take better control of his health. This started with making small efforts at first, like getting back into sports that he always loved as a child. Regular exercise is highly beneficial for those with diabetes to help regulate blood sugars levels and maintain a healthy weight and blood pressure. 

Although his initial goal to exercise more was a step in the right direction, it wasn’t resulting in the changes he wanted to see. He was able to lower his A1C, but it still was not decreasing as much as he had hoped to make a significant difference. 

Adopting a Running Regimen 

Deciding that he wanted to be more aggressive with his physical activity, Bhushan started running with a group of friends in his community.

With this group, he was inspired to run a marathon, like the many others who were a part of it.  He enlisted the help of a coach, Dr. Mohan Achwal, who armed Bhushan with a spreadsheet to track his training and food intake. As a data analyst, this method really spoke to him and motivated Bhushan to chart and follow through with his progress. 

One big hurdle that Bhushan encountered while training for the marathon was not knowing what to eat. Runners need plenty of carbohydrates to fuel their training, but carbs can be dangerous for people living with diabetes and maintaining healthy AIC levels. 

Dr. Pandit, a runner herself, reminded Bhushan that his first intention to become a runner was to find a sustainable exercise plan that could support his lifestyle and help him control his diabetes. She encouraged him to avoid over training and fuel his body while keeping in mind that his pancreas will not respond to high carb meals the way his fellow runner friends’ do. 

“While insulin resistance improves with weight loss and exercise, beta cell function from pancreas doesn’t recover to a point where high carb meals can be consumed without close attention to glucose levels,” explains Dr. Pandit. “I encouraged him to candidly share with his friends that his plans will vary given his health condition and limitations.”

Bhushan took that advice to heart and found his own journey empowering rather than a limitation to his goals. His mindset shifted and his physical and mental endurance improved.

He eventually ran his first half-marathon in 2023 and completed his first full marathon in 2024. 

Bhushan shares that having Dr. Pandit and the staff at Texas Diabetes support helped encourage him along the way.  

“A doctor who empathizes with patients and an office that is collaborative is very important to have as part of your team,” he says. 

Supporting Your Goals 

Bhushan believes that anyone can make lifestyle changes with the right mindset. Tips that he offers for anyone with diabetes who wants to make an impactful change on their condition, which could mean the difference between taking insulin or not, are to:

  • Make eating bad/unhealthy food difficult or out of reach
  • Enlist a partner in your health and fitness goals to keep you accountable 
  • Find a coach to help guide you through your health/fitness journey
  • Replace regular bread with better options such as those that are low-glycemic, or made with whole or sprouted grains 
  • Start gradually, even if it is only walking, and add more intensity from there 

Dr. Pandit recommends finding a diet and exercise plan that is sustainable and enjoyable so that it does not feel like a chore. 

“To commit to a full lifestyle change, I encourage my patients to take an inward journey to find what truly brings them joy when it comes to an exercise plan – biking, hiking, running, yoga, pilates, gym memberships, group training and fitness plan, swimming, or joining a sport team,” she says. 

“The goal is to find something for fitness that is enjoyable, not to win a race or a medal,” shares Dr. Pandit. “Living with diabetes and achieving that level of lifestyle change is a medal.”   

Today, Bhushan has made such huge strides in staying active and eating well that his diabetes maintenance is minimal, and he has in effect, reversed many of the most serious side effects of his condition.  He currently works closely with Dr. Pandit and uses a continuous glucose monitor (CGM) to watch his blood sugar levels and maintain his life goals. 

Contact Us to Help Manage Your Diabetes 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.  

Don’t forget to follow us on Facebook and Instagram and check back with us each month as we provide you helpful wellness and health information.

managing diabetes during the holidays
Diabetes and Holiday Eating: Tips to Stay on Track

The holiday season, and its festive foods, are often the highlight of the year for many people. For those with diabetes though, it can be extra challenging. 

Research from the American Heart Association and American Diabetes Association shows that half of those who have Type 2 diabetes feel that managing it during the holidays is more stressful than any other time of year. 

At Texas Diabetes and Endocrinology, our team of board-certified endocrinologists are dedicated to helping our patients learn best practices for managing their diabetes and gain better control of their health, even during the holidays.

Our diabetes experts recommend planning ahead to help your glucose levels stay at a healthy level during the upcoming holiday season.

How can I manage my diabetes during the holidays? 

1.         Always eat a smart breakfast. Then make a calculated plan to balance your food intake for the rest of the day ahead, and plan accordingly if you will be eating at later times than usual to prevent low sugar episodes.

2.         Get a workout in during the morning and take a walk at night. A workout earlier in the day will help to boost circulation and improve insulin sensitivity, allowing for easier management in the hours to follow. A nighttime walk at the end of the day after a big meal will also help to ease digestion. 

3.         Track your carbohydrate intake. There are many handy and helpful charts and trackers to help you gauge exactly what your carb intake is according to what foods you eat for each holiday, such as ThanksgivingHanukkah, and Christmas (courtesy of the JDRF). Find one that you like and stick to it for the next few months. 

4.         Know what you are eating. Don’t be afraid to ask your relative, host, or restaurant what ingredients (such as sugar, butter and cream) are in the foods you are eating, and how much! This knowledge can help you adjust your portions, or avoid some dishes, accordingly. Or, offer to bring your own low-carb, low-sugar version of something that will be served to share with others. 

5.         Consume alcohol in moderation and watch out for sugary mixers. Festive holiday cocktails are often loaded with sugary mixers such as juices and syrups.  Avoid drinking on an empty stomach as this can also cause your blood sugar to drop, and always drink responsibly.

6.         Test your glucose levels often. Keep as close to your regular testing schedule as possible, and anticipate potential blood sugar spikes and have a plan for when they occur. 

Bring plenty of stabilizing snacks along and your insulin and other medications if traveling. You never know when travel delays may occur, and you’ll want to be prepared. 

All that said, don’t forget to enjoy the holidays and those special festive treats when you can, and know that with a little planning and willpower you are able to get back on track with the next day and the next meal. 

Contact Us Today to Learn More about Managing Your Diabetes

If you’d like to schedule an appointment with Texas Diabetes and Endocrinology and discover how our diabetes treatment services can help you, contact us at (512) 458-8400 or request an appointment online.  

Don’t forget to follow us on Facebook and Instagram and check back with us each month as we provide you helpful wellness and health information.

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