Duke Medicine HealthLine
Published: Aug. 16, 2007
Updated: May 7, 2010
You’re tired, often thirsty, irritable, more hungry than you used to be. Maybe you’ve noticed that you get more frequent vaginal infections, or your vision is sometimes blurry. Some women tend to “explain away” these kinds of health symptoms, particularly when they come on gradually.
“You’re already juggling multiple obligations,” says Duke certified diabetes educator Jan Nicollerat, MSN. “You might not feel well, but you also might not feel like you can spare the time to see your doctor.”
Nicollerat says it’s important for women to understand that these vague symptoms could be signs of diabetes, which is the sixth leading cause of death for women between the ages of 45 and 65. There is also a known link between diabetes and heart disease -- the second ranked cause of death.
All women, particularly those who are overweight or who have a family member with diabetes, should know their blood glucose levels. Primary care physicians usually measure this as part of the bloodwork done for a regular check-up.
Diabetes is diagnosed with a fasting glucose level of 126 mg/dl or greater. A fasting glucose level of 100 mg/dl or greater is above normal range and considered to be pre-diabetes. In both of these instances, your physician would pursue additional testing and physical examination.