November 2016
In This Issue
Women and Diabetes 

Institute Happenings 

Upcoming Events 
  Recent Blogs 
Dear Friends,

This month we wanted to highlight one of the fastest growing health epidemics in the United States: Diabetes. While diabetes affects women just as often as men, it can impact women in different ways. Join us as we explore this topic in women’s health.

Nicole C. Woitowich, PhD
Director of Science Outreach and Education 
Diabetes: The Basics 
The human body functions in many ways like a thermostat, attempting to maintain not only a constant temperature, but also to achieve a constant balance of compounds circulating throughout the body.  This is especially evident in the regulation of blood glucose (also known as blood sugar). Blood glucose refers to the amount of glucose, a type of sugar molecule, that is found in our blood stream. Our digestive system breaks down food items into fats, proteins, and sugars to be used as fuel to perform bodily functions. Glucose is the main energy source in humans, and after every meal it is released into the blood stream. 
In order for the body to utilize glucose as an energy source, it must be transported from the blood stream to into the cells that make up our tissues and organs. This process is stimulated by the hormone insulin which is secreted by the pancreas. Insulin signaling causes cells within the body to "take up" glucose, and by doing so, causes blood glucose levels to return within a normal range. Individuals with diabetes either do not produce enough insulin, or their bodies have become insensitive to insulin. Both processes result in an increase in blood glucose which may be referred to as hyperglycemia.  

Elevated blood glucose levels over time can lead to detrimental health consequences such as: high blood pressure, heart disease, kidney disease, stroke, blindness, and nerve damage. 
Types of Diabetes: 
There are three forms of diabetes: Type I, type II, and gestational. The chart below describes the causes, prevalence, age at onset, and who is at risk for developing these forms of diabetes. 

Symptoms of Diabetes: 
High blood glucose levels may cause the following symptoms [10]: 
  • Intense thirst
  • Being very tired
  • Urinating often
  • Losing weight
  • Blurred vision

Yet, individuals with type II or gestational diabetes may not develop any symptoms at all. Blood tests are required to determine if you have high blood glucose. 

Women & Diabetes: 
While men and women are diagnosed with diabetes at approximately the same rate, women with diabetes are at greater risk for developing severe complications as compared to diabetic men such as c ardiovascular disease [2-4], d iabetic retinopathy [5-6] and k idney disease [7-8].  Additionally, diabetic women may be more likely to suffer from depression compared to women without diabetes [9].

As November is American Diabetes Month, we encourage you to share this information with your friends and family. 

You can find more information about diabetes at the following sources: 
1. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Diabetes Report Card 2014. Atlanta, GA: Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, US Dept. of Health and Human Services; 2015.
2. Peters et al.,  Diabetologia. 2014 Aug;57(8):1542-51. 
3. Penno et al.,  J Intern Med. 2013 Aug;274(2):176-91. 
4. Huxley et al.,  Lancet Diabetes Endocrinol. 2015 Mar;3(3):198-206
5. Benitez-Aguirre et al., Invest Ophthalmol Vis Sci. 2014 Dec 4;56(1):571-7.
6. Kajiwara et al., Diabetes Res Clin Pract. 2014 Mar;103(3):e7-10.
7. Kajiwara et al., Diabetes Res. 2016;2016:4626382.
8. Shen et al., Endocrine. 2016 Aug 1. [Epub ahead of print]. 
9. Siddiqui et al., Mater Sociomed. 2013;25(2):140-2. 
10. UptoDate "Patient education: Type 1 diabetes (The Basics)"

Author: Nicole C. Woitowich, PhD, Director of Science Outreach and Education, Women's Health Research Institute  
Institute Happenings
Applications are now being accepted for the Master of Science in Reproductive Medicine Program at Northwestern University. 

The MS-RSM program is an 18 month program of full-time study which offers reproductive science coursework, a hands-on laboratory course, and professional development training. Students have the opportunity to conduct thesis research under the guidance of nationally-recognized NU faculty.
Upcoming Events 

Monday, November 7th: Two X Chromosomes in Academia Workshop, "Women in STEM: Breaking Down Barriers" 
J oin us for a thoughtful panel discussion highlighting undergraduate and graduate student, post-doctoral, and faculty perspectives on the promotion and retention of women in STEM throughout academia.

5:00PM - 6:00PM

Lurie Research Building, 303 E. Superior Street, Gray Seminar Room 

Tuesday, October 18th: Women's Health Research Monthly Forum 
"Disorders of Sexual Development: What We Known and So Much We Don't" 
Dr. Courtney Finlayson 
12:00PM - 1:00PM
Prentice Women's Hospital, 250 E. Superior Street, 3rd Floor Conference Room L South
This activity has been submitted to the Ohio Nurses Association for approval to award contact hours. The Ohio Nurses Association (OBN-001-91) is accredited as an approver of continuing nursing education by the American Nurses Credentialing Center's Commission on Accreditation. 

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