Diabetes: How it differs for men and women – TheHealthSite

Last Updated on November 16, 2020 by

Millions of people are living with diabetes worldwide. The International Diabetes Federation (IDF) recorded approximately 463 million adults (20-79 years) with diabetes in 2019 and predcited that the number will rise to 700 million by 2045. According to the IDF Diabetes Atlas Ninth edition 2019, 79% of adults with diabetes were living in low- and middle-income countries. Also Read – PCOS and Diabetes: What’s the connection?

While the prevalence of diabetes is known to be slightly higher in men than in women, females are more severely impacted by its consequences. Also Read – Most humans at risk of type 2 diabetes as evolution of insulin hits roadblock

Why Men are at Higher Risk for Type 2 Diabetes?

Type 1 diabetes, also known as insulin-dependent diabetes, occurs when the pancreas produces little or no insulin – a hormone needed to allow sugar (glucose) to enter cells to produce energy. In type 2 diabetes, a person still produces insulin, but the body does not use it efficiently. This is called insulin resistance. Men, especially at ages of 35-54, are more likely to develop type 2 diabetes than women. Also Read – Effective tips to bring down your risk of type 2 diabetes

A study from the University of Glasgow in Scotland suggested that men may be “biologically more susceptible” to the condition.

Being overweight or obese, and storing fat in the abdomen are known to increase the risk of developing Type 2 diabetes. The University of Glasgow researchers said that men require less weight gain than women to develop the condition.

Fat distribution is a possible explanation to the men’s tendency to develop diabetes at lower BMI levels. Typically, women store more fat subcutaneously (under the skin) in areas such as the hips and thighs, but men tend to store more of their fat in the abdomen, they noted.

In addition to higher BMI, a variety of factors can increase the risk of developing Type 2, such as age, race, family history, and a personal history of gestational diabetes or prediabetes.

Some studies have suggested that lower testosterone levels can increase risk of type 2 diabetes in men by increasing visceral fat deposition. And it is estimated that 1/6th of all males have low testosterone.

Women with diabetes face more serious consequences

Globally, diabetes kills more women than men. This is mainly because women with diabetes have higher risk of developing heart disease than men. Usually, women with diabetes are more likely than men with the disease to have poor blood glucose control, be obese, and have high blood pressure and unhealthy cholesterol levels. Thus, women with diabetes are more likely to develop heart disease than men with diabetes.

A 2007 study published in the European Heart Journal found that heart disease is more deadly in women with diabetes than it is in men with the disease. A Finnish study also revealed that heart attacks are more often fatal for women with diabetes than they are for men with the disease.

Over time, poorly controlled diabetes can lead to kidney damage and this complication is also worse for women than men. Women also have a much greater chance of developing depression related to diabetes. Menopause further adds to the woes of women with diabetes. Diabetes coupled with the change in hormones can lead to further increase in blood glucose, weight gain and exacerbate previous health issues. All this makes diabetes far more life-threatening for women as compared to men.

Published : November 16, 2020 8:47 am | Updated:November 16, 2020 8:48 am

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