Katrina Jane Rice shares another pertinent guest post with us – this time, she is addressing blood sugar issues that can show up during and after the Pause. As the hot flashes diminish and mood swings stabilize, our attention rightly turns to aging and remaining healthy. Enjoy.
The Connection Between Blood Sugar And Menopause
by Katrina Jane Rice
Menopause is the time in a woman’s life when her menstrual cycle and her ability to reproduce stop.
As a result, different symptoms occur, such as weight gain, hot flashes, mood swings, irritability, and sleep problems among others. These are triggered by decreased estrogen and progesterone levels in the body and can lead to health concerns to look out for.
If you are in your forties and about to reach menopause, you can expect the above symptoms as well as possible blood sugar problems.
Just as every woman experiences different symptoms, not everyone suffers from high blood sugar. Some women may have lower levels while some may not experience any change at all.
Women who are dealing with blood sugar problems even before they reach their menopause stage are usually those diagnosed with diabetes by their doctors.
Effects of Menopause On Your Blood Sugar
If you are already managing high blood sugar levels before menopause, there are certain changes in your body that you need to be prepared for. You will find that your blood sugar fluctuates more often and it may become more unpredictable. This can alter your energy and affect how you go about your daily activities.
Since the symptoms of menopause can alter your daily routine (due to sleepless nights, mood swings, weight gain and irritability), you will find it more difficult to manage your pre-existing health issues as easily as you used to. Before the menopause symptoms totally take effect on you, beating your health problems and normalizing your blood sugar as soon as possible will truly make a difference.
Estrogen’s Role On Your Blood Sugar
The hormone estrogen decreases when you hit menopause. When it does, your body will undergo significant physical and physiological changes. Your body which once was a well-oiled machine will go through a series of unpredictable metabolic responses that can pose health problems and even put you at risk of diabetes.
To explain further, estrogen plays many roles in a woman’s body and that includes blood sugar regulation. The hormone estrogen has a protective effect on the pancreas and the pancreatic cells by preventing premature cell death.
The pancreas is the organ producing insulin, which is needed to burn sugar. While estrogen helps keep your pancreas healthy, it can efficiently produce insulin and transfer the sugar from your blood to your cells.
The sudden decline of estrogen contributes to your body’s resistance to insulin. For this reason, the sugar in your blood cannot be distributed to your cells and be utilized for energy production. If left untreated, your blood sugar will constantly stay high and can cause the metabolic disorder diabetes.
How To Stay Healthy
If you have been living an unhealthy lifestyle for years, you have to know that there is no quick and easy solution to this complicated medical situation where diabetes and menopause co-exist.
It is normal to feel worried about the likelihood of getting diabetes. But early intervention with a physical check up will determine the amount of work you need to improve your health.
If you already have blood sugar problems before reaching the menopause stage, continue to live a healthy lifestyle and consult your doctor immediately to plan a course of prevention from diabetes. This way you do not have to worry about the other health concerns menopause can bring up.
Monitor your blood sugar and pay a close attention to your lifestyle. Stay away from stress, sleep better at night, eat balanced meals and exercise regularly. If you are overweight, you will be required to shed off the excess pounds as early as possible. Losing as little as 10 pounds can already make a significant difference in your health. Working out daily can also improve your insulin sensitivity.
Be cautious of your health sooner than later. Though menopause is just a stage in a woman’ life, it can become a threat to her overall health. Maintain a healthy lifestyle while waiting for the menopausal symptoms to subside. If you do, you will surely avoid serious health concerns that many women are facing today.
Thank you for this interesting post. I am almost 60 years old and just about finished with hot flashes. It has been a long menopausal road for me. Both my mother and my grandmother became diabetic in their menopause so I have made an extra effort to be diligent about this. Though it has been challenging to keep my weight down, I work on a healthy diet and staying active.
Also, in my reading about diabetes I learned that stress management is a big component of diabetics.. I have worked hard on that aspect and do credit faith and meditation to keeping stress levels down. I get a blood test every year and so far there has been no onset.
Wonderful, Joanne! Keep up the great work – you inspire us. Lynette