What’s a girl to do? Looking at diabetes’ gender differences

It goes without saying there are countless differences between men and women. And, while some of these are downright obvious and in many cases, quite humorous (hello, Venus & Mars debate), others are far more serious. This is the case with diabetes.

A recent piece from Diabetes Forecast revealed, from a health standpoint, women with diabetes have it worse than men with the disease. Studies show they are at higher risk for developing heart disease, kidney disease and depression than men who have diabetes, despite the fact women typically have longer life expectancies.

Researchers haven’t pinpointed the exact reason for the diabetes gender difference, but suspect it’s due to a combination of factors. For example, clinicians are unsure why heart disease risk goes up in women with diabetes but they do know heart attacks are worse because women experience different symptoms and may not recognize it as quickly. Another theory behind the gap relates to medical care. There is evidence women with diabetes may get less effective care than men, so medical conditions beyond diabetes may go unrecognized.

For any woman with diabetes reading this, we’re sure this is overwhelming and perhaps a little scary… but it doesn’t mean your health is out of your control. What it does mean is you need to pay extra close attention and ensure you’re getting the medical care you deserve. And, as always, don’t underestimate the power of good lifestyle choices, like eating well and exercising regularly. Remember, a few small changes now can lead to big payoff in the long run.

What about you? Notice any differences between the genders when it comes to diabetes?

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5 Responses to What’s a girl to do? Looking at diabetes’ gender differences

  1. LY says:

    This is an interesting post because I have found quite the opposite to be true for the diabetics in my life. My mother-in-law and my dad both have Type 2 diabetes. They were diagnosed within a couple of years of each other, in the early 1990s. My mother-in-law is really good about checking her blood sugar, monitoring her diet, taking her medications, and working with her doctor to adjust her medications as needed. She has not had to go on insulin. She has such a good handle on her diet that I think if she were to be a little more diligent about exercise, she could probably get off some or all of her meds. My dad, on the other hand, is now suffering from some pretty serious complications (including kidney disease and gastroparesis) after years of his sugar being too high. This despite the fact that he is nearly 20 years younger than my mother-in-law. It’s like pulling teeth to get him to check his sugar, and he made few (if any) changes to his diet. He often denied or tried to minimize his disease, assuring us that he was “fine.” Now this “tough guy” is underweight because of the gastroparesis, a sickly yellow color because of the kidney disease, and unable to work because of chronic foot problems. Regardless of gender, I think newly diagnosed diabetics MUST understand that this disease is not a weakness, and it can be managed with proper medical care and a good attitude.

  2. Susan says:

    As a female child of two diabetics, and diagnosed last year at 50 as a type 2, I can say this article is very true in my family’s case. My father was diagnosed in his 20’s, lost a portion of one leg, two fingers, the sight in his left eye, and had 5 heart attacks before he passed from kidney failure at 73 (his decision). My mother was diagnosed in her late 40’s, suffered kidney failure at 56, went on dialysis, had a stroke, and passed just a week before her 58th birthday. In less than a year I have improved my health to get off of insulin and reduce my oral medications. My doctor calls me his “poster child”. I can only hope that I will fair better with this disease than either of my parents did, and that it does not develop in either of my grown male children.

  3. Benjamin Hayes says:

    how do we manage without a partner to support

  4. awais zaidi says:

    well i read complete article ,in my country where health is not priority of government and people took easy about diabetes in Pakistan you found more male diabetic patient than females.male patients are much more enthusiastic about taking the medication doing there daily routine work and exercises .but females not going to do any of these .I diagnosed of diabetes almost 23 years ago when i was 8 years old since than i am living with my disease happily I studied doing job and do my exercise daily .I think we can do much better simply by understanding this disease .

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