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Menopause and Blood Sugar Control

Source: American Diabetes Association Complete Guide to Diabetes

If you have finally figured out how to control your blood glucose levels through a combination of meal planning, exercise, and oral diabetes medications or insulin, you should realize that menopause can throw your diabetes management plan out of balance. That’s because you may have learned to adjust your plan around your normal hormonal fluctuations. And the hormones that keep your menstrual cycle going-estrogen and progesterone-can also affect blood glucose levels. In some women, high levels of progesterone and other progestin hormones may decrease the body’s sensitivity to insulin. High levels of estrogen tend to improve insulin sensitivity. As you start the transition of menopause, you’ ll want to pay close attention to the effects it will have on your blood glucose control.

Many women find that they gain weight or become more sedentary as they proceed through menopause. This can increase the need for insulin or oral medication. To fight the fat that often accumulates during middle age, be sure to keep your meals full of nutritious, low-fat foods. And try to maintain or increase your level of activity. This can be a time of life when you are free from some of the responsibilities you had when you were younger. Start a walking program, join a health club, or think about taking up a sport or hobby that you’ve always wanted to try.