Birth-control pills appear to be safe for women with diabetes, and they are certainly safer than a pregnancy for which you are unprepared. Diabetes specialists disagree about the best form of birth control for women with diabetes. Under certain circumstances, estrogen-containing birth-control pills may affect blood sugar and blood-cholesterol levels. For this reason, some physicians do not prescribe them for women with diabetes.
Studies have shown, however, that sugar levels are no different in women who take birth- control pills than in women who do not. Likewise, blood-cholesterol and lipid stages are not the same in women with diabetes who make use of birth-control tablets than in those who do not. There are other effective birth-control methods, such as a diaphragm, that do not affect blood sugar at all. Talk to your health-care team about which birth-control method will work best for you.
If you have peripheral vascular disease (blood- circulation problems), birth-control pills can increase your risk for blood clots. However, the doses of estrogen used in most birth-control pills now are much lower than doses used in the past, so this problem is more rare than it used to be.
Women who smoke or have diabetes are at an increased risk of cardiovascular events, such as stroke and clots in peripheral blood vessels. To minimize this risk, use a low-dose estrogen product, keep your sugar levels under control, and do not smoke.
Women over 35 who are heavy smokers (more than 15 cigarettes a day) should not take birth-control pills due to a substantially increased risk for stroke, heart attack, and blood clots. All women should quit smoking, preferably with the help of a counseling program. At the very minimum, an alternate type of birth control is recommended.
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