I was in my late 20s when I had an abnormal EKG during my annual physical. The doctor I had at the time freaked out. He immediately scheduled me for a cardiac stress test. He prescribed blood pressure and cholesterol medications. It was all very disconcerting. I had just come out of graduate school where I had really poor coverage under my student health plan. My blood sugar levels were pretty crazy considering that and all the stress that comes along with pursuing a graduate degree. And it was a wake up call.
You see… I’d finally hit the stage of my diabetes where I really needed to start thinking about complications. No more honeymoon for me. I really needed to get my blood sugars to become stable if I wanted to avoid some serious health issues as a result of poor control. As a kid growing up with diabetes, I often heard about all the things that I might have happen to me if I didn’t control my blood sugars. I’d go blind. I’d have a hand or foot amputated. I wouldn’t be able to have kids. But something I didn’t really hear about was heart disease. I’m not sure why. Maybe they hadn’t really linked it as a long term complication with diabetes yet.
Now as an adult, heart disease is all around me. I’ve had family members with various heart related ailments - strokes, heart attacks, and blood clots. And while I’ve been fortunate and worked hard enough that I no longer have to take the blood pressure and cholesterol medications, I still have to think about the effects that diabetes has on my heart. It’s already a difficult task to manage my diabetes without having to worry about an invisible complication that has different symptoms for me, as a woman, than those experienced by others. The only way I know I can deal with it is to educate myself as much as possible. I hope that you do the same. And that your hearts continue to beat strong as I know you are...
For more information on the heart disease symptoms to watch out for as a woman, visit: