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NAMS 2015 Conference: Diabetes Management in Postmenopausal Women

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NAMS 2015 Conference: Diabetes Management During Postmenopause Laiotz/Fotolia

Healthy Lifestyle: Still the First and Best Line of Defense Against Diabetes

It’s no surprise that diet, nutrition and exercise are regarded as the most important factors in not only reducing diabetes, but keeping it under control. Postmenopausal women need to realize that even just a few hours of walking per week can greatly reduce health issues and prolong their lives.

During the North American Menopause Society Annual Meeting, speaker Jane E.B. Reusch, M.D. discussed a study from the Journal of American Medical Association on the relationship of walking to mortality among U.S. adults with diabetes.

A prospective cohort study with 2896 subjects showed that the mortality rates after two hours of walking dropped by 39 percent for all causes and 34 percent for cardiovascular deaths. The rates dramatically dropped to 54 percent for all causes and 53 percent for cardiovascular deaths for persons who walked three to four hours.

The conclusion of this study was that walking was associated with lower mortality across a diverse range of adults with diabetes. One death per year may be prevented for every 61 individuals who walk at least two hours per week, according to the study.

Lifestyle changes should always be a part of treating diabetes in postmenopausal women. But if lifestyle change does not work, then a diabetes management plan that includes medication in combination with lifestyle changes is the alternative.

Diabetes Management Plan

An important issue addressed in the conference was whether a postmenopausal patient can be a little diabetic, or is an actual diabetic. There is no such thing as a little diabetic. Either you are diabetic or you are not.

If diabetes is suspected, your doctor will order an A1C test. The A1C test measures what percentage of your hemoglobin, a protein in red blood cells that carries oxygen, is coated with sugar. A higher A1C level indicates a poorer blood sugar control and a higher risk of diabetes complications.

If it’s determined that you are in fact diabetic, the doctor will start you on the oral medication metformin unless your A1C is great than 9 percent. If it is higher, you will be put on insulin, which is an injectable drug that requires closer monitoring of your blood sugars.

It was stressed during the NAMS seminar that even if a patient is on diabetic medications, lifestyle changes are greatly encouraged. For example, speaker Dr. Robert G. Josse said that physical activity can be used to lower a patient’s A1C by a half percentage point, or 0.5 percent, if she exercises within ½ hour of eating.

The ultimate goal, whenever possible, is to bring A1C levels back down to a normal range by eating healthier and increasing physical activity.


Relationship of Walking to Mortality Among US Adults With Diabetes. Arch Intern Med. 2003;163(12):1440-1447. doi:10.1001/archinte.163.12.1440.

The A1C Test and Diabetes. The National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases. Retrieved October 29, 2015.

Reviewed October 30, 2015
by Michele Blacksberg RN
Edited by Jody Smith

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EmpowHER Guest

I got diagnosed with Type 2 Diabetes last year, and was put on Metformin. I followed the ADA diet 100% for a few weeks but it was ineffective at getting my blood sugar below 140. My Doctor was pretty ineffective as far as treatment options went (Metformin until Insulin...). Then I found the Big Diabetes Lie book created by Sidorov to help you figure out how to beat diabetes naturally, without being dependent on medications. Since following that protocol I've lost over 30 pounds and shaved 7 inches off my waist. I have more energy than ever, and can even work out twice on the same day when I feel like it. I hope that more people begin to open their eyes to the dead-end that is depending only on medications for Diabetes - there is a lot of success to be seen trying natural methods.

EmpowHer Editorial note: This person's experience is her own and it not an endorsement of how you should manage your own health.

October 30, 2015 - 5:48pm
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We value and respect our HERWriters' experiences, but everyone is different. Many of our writers are speaking from personal experience, and what's worked for them may not work for you. Their articles are not a substitute for medical advice, although we hope you can gain knowledge from their insight.


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