Excessive Thirst/Frequent Urination
These are common symptoms of Type 2 diabetes, in which the body gradually loses its sensitivity to insulin, leading to unhealthy high blood-sugar levels. The incidence of Type 2 diabetes is skyrocketing, and in women it's often diagnosed in the childbearing years. The main cause is obesity, which can be exacerbated by pregnancy. "Some women gain a lot of weight during pregnancy and don't lose it all, and that excess weight gain puts them at risk of diabetes," says Dr. Sweet. (In contrast, Type 1 diabetes, an autoimmune disease in which the body loses its ability to make insulin, is usually diagnosed in childhood or adolescence.)
If you developed diabetes when you were pregnant, it usually goes away after childbirth, but you're at higher risk of becoming a diabetic again in later years, says Dr. Sweet. "If you don't eat well or exercise, and you live long enough, you'll get it again." But if you do lose weight and work out during your 30s, you can help prevent the disease. Even if you have diabetes, doing both now may actually clear up the problem. For others, medication may also be needed to bring the disease under control.
Diabetes is easily diagnosed by your primary-care physician through a blood test. But left untreated -- or poorly controlled -- the condition can increase the risk of heart disease, as well as kidney and nerve complications. "That's why early diagnosis and treatment are so important," says Dr. Sweet.