Many of the previous studies have proved that women are at a greater risk of getting diabetes during menopause. The reason behind this may be the increased insulin resistance as a result of an increase in fat distribution.
This new study has evaluated the information from the Women’s Health Initiative (WHI). Its findings have revealed that metabolic health can affect the risk of diabetes in an individual. A metabolically unhealthy person has a greater risk of diabetes compared to the one who has good metabolic health.
The results were the same even in women who had normal body weight. These latest findings have been recently published in Menopause: The Journal of The North American Menopause Society (NAMS).
The chances of getting diabetes increases as women age and experience menopause. Especially, the women at postmenopausal age have a greater risk of diabetes type 2 due to the presence of increased abdominal fat. Increased abdominal fat can lead to glucose intolerance and increased resistance of the body against insulin.
Diabetes can be defined as a condition in which an individual has consistently high blood glucose levels (BGLs) because of the insulin resistance or insufficient production of insulin by the body. Insulin is a hormone that is required by the body to metabolize glucose and maintain blood glucose levels in a normal range.
If BGLs remain uncontrolled, diabetes can further result in complications like nephropathy, neuropathy, or retinopathy (blindness). Diabetes can also damage arteries and enhance the risk of other chronic problems like hypertension (increased blood pressure) and cardiovascular diseases.
Increased body fat content or obesity has been proved to be a risk factor for diabetes. But it has been found by recent researches that the risk of diabetes is higher in women who are metabolically unhealthy, even if they have normal body weight.
A person’s metabolic health is dependent on the combined levels of high-density lipoprotein (HDL) cholesterol, blood glucose, and triglycerides. Besides these, metabolic health also depends on waist circumference and blood pressure.
In this latest research, the research team has used the information of postmenopausal women who had participated in the Women’s Health Initiative and made efforts to figure out the association between different categories of metabolic weight and the risk of diabetes.
On analyzing this information, the research team reached a conclusion that the risk of diabetes was two times more in both, women who are metabolically unhealthy but have normal body weight and the women who are metabolically healthy but are overweight.
This result has proven that the risk of diabetes may be present even in women with normal body weight, on the basis of their metabolic health. On the contrary, the risk of diabetes development was found to be four-times greater in women who were overweight and also metabolically unhealthy.
Dr. Stephanie Faubion is the medical director at the North American Menopause Society (NAMS). According to her, this study has proved that being metabolically unhealthy is linked with greater diabetes risk, even if the person has normal weight. So, it is important to educate women regarding the importance of controlling diabetes-related cardiometabolic risk factors and keeping a healthy weight.