We recently spoke with Professor Jackie Sturt from Kings College London on the Women’s Wellness podcast about why women need to talk about type 2 diabetes and how the Women’s Wellness with Type 2 Diabetes program is helping women feel supported on their journey to wellness.
More than 200 million women across the globe are living with type 2 diabetes, which is a deficiency in insulin. Professor Sturt says the reason for the lack of insulin is often because the cells in our body have become resistant to the insulin circulating, which is necessary for glucose to get into our cells.
“Our body needs this glucose to function, but in type 2 diabetes there’s a problem between the lock and the key,” she says.
“The glucose is not getting from the circulating blood system into the cells that need it. So, there’s too much glucose circulating the body, which is what causes the problems.”
Professor Sturt says that type 2 diabetes now affects more than 60 million younger women, between the ages of 18 and 39, across the globe.
“There are genetic factors that affect your likelihood of developing type 2 diabetes, however, globally we’re living in this obesogenic environment, which is promoting sedentary behaviour and higher calory intake,” she says.
“These factors lead to weight gain and this can play a part in switching on those genes that trigger diabetes, so type 2 diabetes is certainly linked to lifestyle factors.”
Professor Sturt says women’s experiences of living with chronic health conditions differ from those of men so women need tailored support programs to suit their specific needs and concerns.
“Women have a reproductive stage of life, which can span between the age of 14 to 65, and this stage is very much impacted by living with a chronic condition like type 2 diabetes,” she says.
“Not only are women having to manage this complex metabolic condition, but they’re also having to manage their menstrual cycle, hormonal fluctuations, pregnancy and contraception and then the depletion of hormones and heading into menopause and the weight gain associated with this stage.
“All of these factors make it very difficult for women to focus on their diabetes, so they need extra support and special focus to help them feel like they’re in control and they’ve got some sense of management of these twin health experiences.”
Listen to the full episode on the Women’s Wellness podcast here or read more about the Women’s Wellness with Type 2 Diabetes program here.