With over 199 million women living with diabetes worldwide, it is no wonder that the focus for World Diabetes Day 2017 is ‘diabetes and Women’.
According to the International Diabetes Federation (IDF), diabetes is the ninth leading cause of death in women globally, causing 2,1 million deaths per year.
Locally, the numbers are even worse. In accordance with StatsSA (2015), diabetes is the biggest killer of Southern African girls.
Conditions in developing nations like ours suggests that women and girls lack access to cost-effective diabetes prevention, care, diagnosis, therapy and early detection.
Sadly, socio-economic inequalities also expose girls to the primary risk factors of diabetes — poor nutrition and diet, physical inactivity, tobacco consumption and use of alcohol.
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This World Diabetes Day (14 November) individuals from over 160 countries will be joining to confront diabetes as a critical international health problem, with a specific focus on girls.
“While we advocate an awareness of diabetes for all folks, this effort especially intends to highlight the crucial diabetes therapies and technology, self-management instruction and advice that girls require to achieve optimal diabetes outcomes and strengthen their capacity to self-manage or prevent type two diabetes,” states Dr Larry Distiller, Specialist Physician/Endocrinologist and Executive Chairman of the Centre of Diabetes and Endocrinology (CDE).
How diabetes interrupts girls
There are conditions that impact women while diabetes has an effect on the health of both women and men.
Pregnancy risks for mom and baby
Dr Distiller claims if care that is good is not available from preconception through to post-delivery, that women with diabetes might have poor pregnancy outcomes.
In fact, without pre-conception planning, type 1 and type 2 diabetes could produce a significantly higher risk of maternal and child mortality and morbidity.
Women with type 1 diabetes have an elevated risk of premature menopause or with a baby with malformations.
Since two out of every five women with diabetes are of age, this is a frightening idea.
Approximately half of women with a history of gestational diabetes mellitus (GDM) go on to develop type 2 diabetes in five to ten years after delivery.
One in seven births is influenced by GDM. Women with GDM experience pregnancy associated complications such as high blood pressure, labor and large birth weight babies.
Women with type 2 diabetes are almost 10 times more likely to have coronary heart disease than are women without the condition.
Care for yourself
The numbers are terrifying, however, the fantastic news, according to the CDE, is that around 70 percent of cases of type 2 diabetes may be prevented through the adoption of a healthy lifestyle.
Exercising regularly and following a nutritious diet are two of the ways.
It’s never too late or too early to make healthy lifestyle changes.
Pregnancy is a time in the lifetime to be cautious about health of a woman. Be certain you are following a diet plan that is nutritious and talk about getting your sugar examined.
If you are already a mom, begin modelling behaviours you need your children to embrace. Prepare meals that are wholesome and, get outdoors rather than watching TV together and play, walk or ride bikes.
“We have a huge established problem with diabetes and associated cardiovascular risks and outcomes. Promoting opportunities for physical exercise in adolescent women, especially in developing nations, must be a priority for diabetes prevention — we should not neglect the possibility we now have to modify the future,” states Dr Distiller.
Resources: Centre of Diabetes and Endocrinology and International Diabetes Federation
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