Diabetes is a disease that affects both genders. However, there are observable differences in the way that men and women respond to this condition. It is important for people to learn about this. They can use the knowledge to better protect themselves and their loved ones.
Various studies have been conducted to figure out the extent of this disparity. According to research, gender has a significant influence on risk. It also has a profound impact on the development of heart disease, kidney ailments, psychological issues, and many more. The following is a brief men vs women diabetes breakdown:
Risk by Gender
Scottish researchers at the University of Glasgow have found that men tend to develop type-2 diabetes at a much lower BMI than women of the same age group. In other words, they only need a small weight gain to get the disease.
The findings were gathered from the records of almost a hundred thousand patients so the sample size is quite large and reliable. There are a number of theories regarding this imbalance. Some point to the fat storage mechanisms with men having theirs close to the organs while women storing more under the skin. Lower sensitivity to insulin among men was also offered as an explanation.
None of these are conclusive and will remain speculations until a more thorough study is conducted specifically aimed at getting answers.
While women have less risk, those who have already developed type 2 diabetes tend to have greater difficulty because of it. In 2007, a study tracked the death rates by gender among diabetic patients between 1971 and 2000.
Researchers found that mortality decreased for men yet it stayed the same for women throughout the 30-year period. The difference in life span between men who have diabetes and those who don’t is 7.5 years. The figure for women is greater at 8.2 years.
So it seems that the well-known advantage of women when it comes to longevity gets swept aside when they have diabetes. The female advantage generally lies in their lower risk of heart disease. Diabetics can no longer enjoy this benefit as women become 6x more likely to suffer from a heart condition.
Men’s risk only goes up to 3x higher. These are the finding of the partnership for Gender-Specific Medicine at the well-regarded Columbia University. In addition, women more readily lose their blood glucose control. They have a higher incidence of obesity, unhealthy cholesterol levels, and are more prone to high blood pressure.
As it turns out, heart failure is more fatal in women than it is in men. Experts say that elderly females should be very mindful of their condition if they are diabetic. Chest pain is the most widely known symptom in men so that is what people tend to watch out for.
Yet women seldom experience chest pain during an attack. Nausea, light-headedness, and sleep problems are the more common symptoms. The warnings signs may be present and they wouldn’t even know it. That’s why a lot of female diabetics are not able to get appropriate treatment right away.
The kidney is another organ that is greatly taxed in diabetics. Again, men have a greater chance of having kidney disease in the general population. However, diabetes complicates things for women.
Those who are healthy need not worry about their kidneys until they go through menopause and lose the protective effects of estrogen. With diabetes, age is no longer relevant as women have equal chances of developing problems as men.
This means that patients need to be more careful about the food they consume. Alcohol intake, for instance, should be moderated to prevent painful and costly complications.
A study published in the Archives of Internal Medicine indicated a link between depression and diabetes. The two seem to reinforce each other. Those who have diabetes exhibit a higher risk of getting depressed while those who are suffering from depression are more likely to develop the disease.
Previous research on mental health has already established that the incidence of depression is greater in women by a factor of two. If possible, proactive steps should be taken to avoid this causality. Failure to do so can have tragic consequences. Women that have both of these conditions have doubled the risk of early death compared to health individuals.
Other Gender-based Differences
The experience of diabetic men and women also differ in other ways. Men could develop erectile dysfunction because of this condition which could become a problem in their personal lives. On the other hand, women may lose their libido directly because of it which also presents problems if they are in a relationship.
Pregnancy is also harder and there is strong evidence for genetic predisposition. Women are also more liable to vaginal infections and urinary problems. These can be extremely irritating and even painful. Men and women should always be in close contact with their doctors and report any issue that they might be experiencing for immediate intervention.