Do you know somebody who has diabetes? If so, that is not a surprise; as of 2015, 30.2 million Americans over the age of 18 were suffering from diabetes, and 84.1 million were prediabetic. Of those with the disease, 14.9 million were women and 15.3 million were men.
Diabetes in Men and Women
Despite the fact that men have a greater disposition to developing type 2 diabetes, the disease often has more adverse affects on women. For instance, between 1971 and 2000, death rates fell for men, but those for women remained stagnant. Furthermore, even though women generally live longer than men, when it comes to having diabetes, they lose this advantage—on average, men with diabetes live 7.5 fewer years than men who don’t have this disease, while women with diabetes live 8.2 fewer years than non-diabetic women.
Additionally, in regard to type 1 diabetes, when compared to men, women with the disease have a nearly 40% greater risk of dying from any cause, and more than double the risk of dying from heart disease. This is likely caused by unique hormones produced by women which make it harder for them to control their blood sugar.
Some other reasons for this difference are that compared to men with diabetes, women with diabetes have an increased risk of heart disease and kidney disease. Additionally, diabetic women are also more prone to poor blood glucose control, obesity, and depression, as well as high blood pressure and unhealthy cholesterol levels as compared to diabetic men.
This increase in adverse outcomes may also be due to the fact that women have to gain more weight than men before being diagnosed with diabetes, which can leave them at a greater risk for many health complications. With these complications in mind, it’s important for women to be aware of the risk factors and symptoms of diabetes in order to start treatment early and take an active role in recovery.
Diabetes Risk Factors
Although men and women share many risk factors for diabetes, such as having a family history of diabetes, high cholesterol, or high blood pressure, as well as being overweight and living a sedentary lifestyle, the most common risk factors vary between men and women.