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Diabetes after Menopause

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Diabetes after Menopause

Changes in our environment and eating behaviors have changed drastically over the years. Lifestyle factors are affecting every single medical condition you can possible imagine. Smoking, high intake of unhealthy fats, trans fat that prolong shelf life, high glycemic index foods, processed foods, processed carbohydrates, lack of exercise, poor intake of fruits and vegetables all affect our metabolism and the risk of developing Diabetes especially after menopause.

It has been estimated that there will be a 42% increase in Diabetes in developed countries and 170% increase risk in developing countries. Some countries that has been for the most part healthy and that has followed a traditional diet, like China or Japan for example, now are being bombarded with fast food restaurants, processed foods, pizza joints, trans fats and saturated fats and the rates of Diabetes have skyrocketed to new highs over recent years.

After menopause, Diabetes and insulin resistance have been reported to occur as part of the aging process as opposed to menopause itself. The changes in hormones cause a new internal environment that if not addressed properly will lead you down the road of Diabetes, insulin resistance and cardiovascular disease ( Stroke, Heart Attack, Peripheral Vascular Disease and vascular Dementia).

What is Diabetes:

To understand diabetes you have to understand how insulin works in your body. Insulin is one of the major hormones your pancreas produces.  When you have your morning cereal, your body turns those carbohydrates you are ingesting into simple sugars. During this time, your pancreas releases the hormone  insulin in order to get that sugar and carbohydrates that you just ate and put them into cells where they belong in order for your body to produce energy.  But patients with this condition, either their body does not release this hormone at all or in limited quantities or the body becomes resistance to its effects, causing what is called insulin resistance.

Symptoms of Diabetes:

Some of the symptoms of Diabetes are sometimes not that obvious. Sometimes women dont have any symptoms at all. When symptoms do occur,  Diabetes is very well established. When the majority of patients come for a menopause evaluation at my clinic, despite referring typical symptoms of menopause like hot flashes, night sweats, difficulty sleeping, weight gain basically none of them associate those with possible symptoms of pre Diabetes or Diabetes. Common symptoms of insulin resistance and DM are:

  1. Weight gain
  2. Difficulty loosing weight
  3. Dizziness
  4. Frequent eating
  5. Frequent urination
  6. Chest palpitations
  7. Fatigue
  8. Headaches
  9. Skin Changes
  10. Excessive thirst
  11. Abnormal labs

Metabolic Syndrome:

Metabolic syndrome is also known as insulin resistance syndrome and previously as syndrome X. The findings of this syndrome are:

  1. Glucose intolerance
  2. Insulin Resistance
  3. Central Obesity
  4. Dyslipidemia or abnormal lipid testing
  5. Pre Hypertension or Hypertension

This syndrome is associated with developing Diabetes, Cardiovascular disease, Obesity, Stroke, vascular inflammation and dementia and even Alzheimer disease.  It has been theorized that the cause of  the metabolic syndrome is the existence of insulin resistance and that insulin resistance is caused by the overabundance of circulating fatty acids in our bloodstream due to processed foods and the Standard American Diet. This is also a condition that you have to get screened for, because if you dont, it will be a matter of time before you developed other serious disease.

Can hormone therapy affect insulin resistance:

In postmenopausal patients, the use of exogenous estrogen may improve insulin resistance, meaning that your body will be more “open” to its effects which is a good thing. However, the way you use the hormones, the method of delivery, synthetic vs bio identical hormones, the addition of synthetic progesterone, all this can affect this improvement in resistance.

Why all of this important: 

Part of a complete and rigorous menopause evaluation is to help patient ameliorate her symptoms of menopause in addition to prevent chronic disease so she can live a longer and fuller life. My goal when I examine patients at the clinic and evaluate the symptoms of menopause, its making the patient feel more comfortable and reduce the bothersome symptoms of menopause that she came here to begin with but at the same time I want the patient to live longer and enjoy life in a healthier way for a longer time.  What good will do to diminish her hot flashes and night sweats but then finding out that they developed cardiovascular disease, a stroke or a myocardial infarction and now needs to be bedridden or that she developed Diabetes and now needs dialysis for the rest of her life with all the complications it carries.

What we do at Texas Menopause

Things to include in an evaluation in a menopause patients  are:

  1. Diabetes screening
  2. Insulin resistance
  3. Inflammatory markers
  4. Hypertension screening
  5. Hormonal insufficiency
  6. Micro nutrient deficiency
  7. Advanced lipid panel
  8. Complete Thyroid workup
  9. Adrenal health
  10. Leaky gut or intestinal permeability testing
  11. Estrogen metabolism and Breast Cancer assessment
  12. Many others

Schedule your appointment today at TexasMenopause, click on Book Online, and take care of your health.

Texas Menopause

Diabetes and Menopause

Health. Women’s Health Texas Menopause

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