If you have diabetes, you’re not alone. One in 10 Yavapai County residents live with the condition. And while men are more likely than women to have type 2 diabetes, women with the condition experience more serious complications. They also face a greater risk of death.

“Type 2 diabetes happens when the body is unable to properly use insulin,” says Andrea Klein, RN, BSN, CDCES, CCRP, Director of Preventive Medicine and Wellness, Dignity Health Yavapai Regional Medical Center (YRMC). “Women with type 2 diabetes experience very specific symptoms. It’s important to know those symptoms and see your health care provider immediately if you’re experiencing any of them.”

What’s happening to my body?
The most common change women with undiagnosed diabetes or pre-diabetes experience is frequent urination.

“When your blood sugar is high,” says Klein, “your kidneys expel the excess blood sugar, which causes you to urinate more often.”

Other symptoms of diabetes include:

  • Increased hunger and thirst
  • Fatigue
  • Blurred vision
  • Unexplained weight loss
  • Slow healing cuts and wounds
  • Tingling or numbness in the hands or feet

Are you at risk for type 2 diabetes?
Experts say women are more at risk for type 2 diabetes if they are:

  • 45 years or older
  • Considered by medical measurements to be overweight or obese
  • Part of a family with parents or siblings who have the condition
  • African American, Hispanic, Asian American, American Indian, Alaska Native, Native Hawaiian, or Pacific Islander
  • The biological mother of baby with a birth weight of at least nine pounds
  • Physically active fewer than three times a week

Additionally, women are more likely to be diagnosed with type 2 diabetes if they had gestational diabetes during pregnancy, suffer from heart disease, or have had a stroke. High blood pressure, high cholesterol, and polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS) also increase your risk for type 2 diabetes.

Breaking through the isolation of diabetes
“Diabetes is pretty widespread in our community,” Klein says. “Even though many people have diabetes, people with the condition can feel isolated.”

YRMC’s Diabetes Self-Management program helps people living with the condition to overcome feelings of isolation. During five weekly sessions, participants also learn strategies that empower them to effectively manage their diabetes. The program is for anyone with diabetes, from people who are newly diagnosed to those who have lived with the condition for years.

Weekly sessions are titled:

  • Managing Your Diabetes
  • Meals: Healthy Eating
  • Monitoring, Motion and Problem Solving
  • Reducing Risks and Healthy Coping
  • Taking Medications and Putting it All Together

“Group members become each other’s cheerleaders and champions,” says Bonita Wilson, RN, CDCES, YRMC’s Diabetes Educator. “The comradery creates a positive learning environment.”

YRMC’s Diabetes Education program is recognized by the American Diabetes Association (ADA) for Quality Self-Management Education. The program is offered throughout the year in Prescott and Prescott Valley.

For more information, call (928) 771-5794 in Prescott or (928) 759-5920 in Prescott Valley or visit our DignityHealth.org/YRMC.


Submitted by Dignity Health Yavapai Regional Medical Center