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Prediabetes Symptoms in Women: What You Need to Look Out For

Published on: Mar 16, 2023
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Prediabetes Symptoms in Women
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Introduction

Prediabetes is a metabolic health condition in which blood sugar levels are higher than normal but not high enough to be called type 2 diabetes. Prediabetes puts you at risk for developing diabetes, heart disease and stroke. Prediabetes develops when insulin resistance is not managed effectively. This article explores the symptoms of prediabetes in women.

Metabolic diseases affect men and women differently, and prediabetes is no different. Other conditions like PCOS (polycystic ovarian syndrome) and gestational diabetes (diabetes during pregnancy) put women at high risk for developing insulin resistance, prediabetes and diabetes.

It is considered prediabetes when:

  • Fasting blood sugar levels are between 100 to 125 mg/dL 
  • HbA1c of 5.6 – 6.4%. 
  • OGTT (checks for blood glucose levels two hours after a special sweet drink): 140- 199 mg/dL

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Normal Blood Sugar Level Chart (as per CDC Standards)

Result A1C Test Fasting Blood Sugar Test Glucose Tolerance Test Random Blood Sugar Test
Diabetes 6.5% or above 126 mg/dL or above 200 mg/dL or above 200 mg/dL or above
Prediabetes 5.7 – 6.5% 100 – 125 mg/dL 140 – 199 mg/dL N/A
Normal Below 5.7% 99 mg/dL or below 140 mg/dL or below N/A

There are several reasons why women may develop prediabetes, including obesity, family history, increasing age and stress. Infact, there is a strong association between stress and prediabetes in women, and it has been found that stressed women have twice the risk of developing type 2 diabetes than those who are not stressed.

Common Symptoms of Prediabetes

People can have prediabetes for years without any signs or symptoms. A few common signs and symptoms of prediabetes that may be seen in some people include

  • Excessive thirst
  • Fatigue that does not go away with sleep
  • Frequent urination 
  • Development of skin tags
  • Darkened skin in the armpit or sides of the back (called acanthosis nigricans)
  • Weight gain
  • Urinary tract infections
  • Menstrual irregularities
  • PCOS
  • Infertility
  • Disturbed vision

Symptoms of Prediabetes in Females

Most symptoms of prediabetes in girls and women are similar to those in men. However, symptoms of prediabetes in women include 

  • Frequent vaginal yeast infections: Women are prone to fungal infections, but women with prediabetes and diabetes are at an increased risk, especially when their blood sugar levels are high.
  • Urinary tract infections: Urinary Tract Infections (UTIs) are common among women for anatomical reasons. The risk of developing a UTI is higher with high blood sugar levels. Besides high blood sugar levels, poor circulation and not emptying the bladder in time can also aggravate the chances of developing a UTI.
  • Changes in the menstrual cycle: Changes in hormonal levels before and during periods can make it difficult to predict blood sugar levels. Many females develop sugar cravings during their periods or before, making diabetes management difficult.
  • Vaginal dryness and painful sex: Vaginal dryness can make sexual intercourse uncomfortable and painful for women. Some causes of this are nerve damage, reduced blood flow, and hormonal changes due to high blood sugar levels.
  • Loss of sexual drive: Increased blood sugar levels can sometimes lower a woman’s interest in sex or her ability to enjoy it.

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Complications of Prediabetes

The most common complication of prediabetes is developing type 2 diabetes, which can later damage nerves, kidneys, eyes, blood vessels, brain and heart. Prediabetes increases the risk of cardiovascular diseases like stroke and heart attack. 

How is Prediabetes Diagnosed?

Since you may not experience any obvious signs or symptoms of prediabetes, your doctor may advise you to undergo an oral glucose tolerance test (OGTT) with 75 gm of glucose along with HbA1c.  

OGTT is a diagnostic test that helps healthcare professionals evaluate how well your body processes sugar. This test is done in two steps. 

  • The first step includes the ingestion of 75 gms of anhydrous glucose (which makes the solution sweet) dissolved in water. 
  • This is followed by a test of blood sugar levels after two hours of having the sugary drink the blood sugar levels are measured.

A fasting plasma glucose or an HbA1c and an oral glucose tolerance test (OGTT) test are used to diagnose prediabetes. Sometimes, the HbA1c test may miss diagnosing prediabetes, which may otherwise be detectable using an oral glucose tolerance test (OGTT).

Individuals with prediabetes have a high risk of developing diabetes in the next few years. For this reason, it is important to diagnose prediabetes early and start lifestyle modifications to prevent it from progressing to type 2 diabetes.

You must undergo a test for prediabetes if you are:

  • Overweight or obese
  • Family history of diabetes
  • You are over 40 years
  • Are finding it difficult to conceive
  • Have irregular periods
  • Have slow-healing wounds
  • History of steroid intake
  • Frequent urination
  • Frequent infections
  • Excessive thirst

FitterTake

Women usually do not prioritise their health. However, being aware of the risk factors, signs and symptoms of prediabetes is crucial for women to maintain good health and prevent type 2 diabetes and its complications.

Regular exercise, maintaining a healthy weight, and eating a balanced diet can help reduce the risk of developing prediabetes. It is essential to consult a healthcare provider if you experience any of the symptoms of prediabetes.

Remember, early diagnosis and treatment can prevent or delay the onset of type 2 diabetes. By taking proactive steps towards maintaining good health, women can lead healthy and fulfilling lives. 

We know it’s easier said than done but with us it’s easier to do it too. Our team of medical experts have decades of experience and can help you manage prediabetes or diabetes through a personalised plan for your diet, physical fitness and mental well being. When all these factors improve, it is easier for you to achieve your health goals along with your doctor prescribed medications.

Just dial 08069450746 to know more about our Diabetes Care Program

We assure you, it will be worth your time 😇. 

Disclaimer

This blog provides general information for educational and informational purposes only and shouldn't be seen as professional advice.

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- By Fitterfly Health-Team

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