The Skinny on Women and Diabetes
Keeping Brooklyn Healthy

The Skinny on Women and Diabetes

Statistics from the city’s Department of Health and Mental Hygiene show that diabetes deaths in Brooklyn have soared 42% over the past 15 years. Overall, 9.4% of Brooklynites suffer from the disease, the second highest rate in the city.

Experts have linked the surge in diabetes to increasing obesity rates. Nationwide, the epidemic affects more women than men and is a growing health concern given that 55% of American women are overweight and 35% are obese.

Type 2 diabetes, often called non-insulin dependent or adult-onset diabetes, is the most common form of diabetes, affecting 90% - 95% of the 21 million Americans with diabetes. 80% of people with type 2 diabetes are obese.

Uncontrolled diabetes can lead to a number of serious or life-threatening conditions, including kidney damage, eye problems, coronary disease, stroke, nerve damage and poor blood circulation. Diabetes can also cause dehydration, which can lead to a life-threatening complication called diabetic coma.

Diabetics must take special care of their fingers and toes to be sure they are receiving adequate blood supply.

How can women guard against diabetes?

The good news is, these steps are all changes you can make fairly easily. You need to keep your weight gain to a minimum: for every 1% of body weight you gain after high school, your risk of developing diabetes increases by 10% and your risk for heart disease increases about 5%.

Regular exercise is another critical defense against diabetes. Simply walking 20 minutes a day can cut your risk dramatically.

Finally, and perhaps most important, make sure you’re eating five servings of fruit and vegetables every day. A healthy diet is essential to preventing diabetes.

Treating diabetes.

If you already have diabetes, a long-term commitment to good nutrition, careful monitoring of your carbohydrate intake, and regular physical activity are critical to successful treatment.

When diet and exercise alone aren’t enough to keep your blood sugars in a safe range, medications for type 2 diabetes are prescribed. Some people with type 2 diabetes may eventually require regular insulin injections to keep their blood glucose levels in control.

Everyone with type 2 diabetes needs to measure their blood sugar levels regularly, and there are a variety of ways to do this. The information provided by regular blood sugar testing helps your healthcare team assess how effective their treatment plan is and provides data for making necessary adjustments.

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