You would think with 30 years of diabetes under my belt I would have a pretty good handle on this disease, but I’m still amazed by how my blood sugar affects my body. A recent middle of the night low reminded me of an interesting conversation I had years ago.
Barbara, my former high school teacher and recently diagnosed adult Type 1, was kind enough to attend an outdoor event I was hosting. She sat down next to me as I was suffering a serious low blood sugar (sweaty, not able to put together a complete thought, etc.). We cursed how the serious lows seem to pop up at the most inopportune times. She has a dry sense of humor, which I totally appreciate, and made a comment that only women living with T1D could understand – “Menopause will be nothing – you experience the equivalent of an unbearable hot flash with any major low blood sugar.” Good to know!! This inspired me to to compare the symptoms of menopause (Healthline.com) and diabetes.
- Hot Flashes – Hot flashes can be a sudden feeling of heat either in the upper portion of your body or all over. Your face and neck might turn red, and you may feel sweaty or flushed. The intensity of a hot flash can range from mild to very strong, even waking you from sleep.
- Every T1D has woken up in a pool of sweat or even worse – had a sweatfest during a social event.
- Insomnia or Problems Sleeping – It might be hard for you to fall asleep or stay asleep. You might wake up earlier than you wish and have trouble going to back to sleep.
- I can not sleep if my blood sugar is too high or too low. My body, literally, will not allow me to sleep.
- Frequent Urination or Urinary Incontinence – It’s common for menopausal women to lose control of their bladder. You may feel a constant need to urinate even without a full bladder or experience painful urination.
- Thank goodness diabetes has not caused me too lose control of my bladder, but T1Ds can totally relate to frequent urination.
- Decreased Libido – It’s common to feel less interested in sex during menopause.
- There is no way in hell I feel like having sex if my blood sugar is out of control.
- Depression & Mood Swings – Women report feelings of irritability, depression, and mood swings, and often go from extreme highs to severe lows in a short period of time.
- Every T1D can relate to this one. I am off the charts irrational or combative when I haven’t recognized a low and word on the street, depression is common amongst folks living with a life threatening disease.
- Menopause only lasts a few years.
- Once diagnosed, you are a T1D for life.
- There are medications or herbal supplements for every menopausal symptom listed above.
- We endure each of the symptoms, often with no rhyme or reason.
Well, I am years away from menopause and after doing a bit of research, feel confident I will rock what other women fear – the HOT FLASH. I would love to hear from women that can actually compare a “real” hot flash to a low blood sugar. Which is worse?
Happy Militant Optimistic Monday (quote and words to live by from Oklahoma artist, Romy Owens)