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Diabetes ‘Much More Dangerous for Men Than Women’

ReachMD Healthcare Image
05/20/2024
yahoo.com

Diabetes is much more dangerous for men than for women, a study has suggested.

Researchers found that the rates of heart disease, complications involving the leg, foot and kidneys, and the sight-threatening eye disease diabetic retinopathy, were all higher in male patients with the condition.

Men are known to be at greater risk of heart disease or be more overweight than women, but scientists wanted to find out what the impact of a diabetes diagnosis was.

Researchers from the University of Sydney analysed 25,713 people over the age of 45 who had either type 1 or type 2 diabetes.

Over an average of 10 years, they found that 44 per cent of men in the study had complications associated with the heart, such as heart failure, stroke, or myocardial infarction, compared with 31 per cent of women.

A quarter of men had problems with their legs or feet, which can include nerve damage and poor blood circulation, leading to amputation in severe cases, while the figure was 18 per cent for women.

Meanwhile, 35 per cent of men reported kidney problems, such as kidney failure, chronic kidney disease and dialysis, compared with 25 per cent of women.

However, eye problems were more common in women, with 61 per cent developing complications associated with the eye compared with 57 per cent of men in general, although men were 14 per cent more likely to suffer from diabetic retinopathy, where the retina becomes damaged and which can lead to sight loss.

The researchers concluded that overall, it meant men were 51 per cent more likely to develop heart disease than women, 55 per cent more likely to have issues with their kidneys, and 47 per cent more likely to have lower limb complications involving a leg or foot.

Researchers said the findings – published in the Journal of Epidemiology & Community Health – highlighted “differences in baseline characteristics” between men and women.

Men were more likely to be overweight, have a history of heart disease or stroke, or be previous smokers.

They said: “Men may also be less likely to adopt primary prevention strategies, such as healthy lifestyle change and medication use, and to engage in health-seeking behaviours, such as preventative health checks.”

More than 4.3 million people in the UK are living with diabetes according to Diabetes UK, although the charity estimates a further 850,000 are yet to be diagnosed.

A study published in The Lancet last year claimed 1.3 billion could have the condition worldwide by 2050.

Researchers also looked at how long people had been living with diabetes and if this impacted the risk of complications.

Of the 19,922 people whose age was recorded at diagnosis, some 58 per cent had had the condition for less than a decade, while the remainder had had it for more than 10 years.

Researchers found that the risk of a health complication increased the longer the person lived with diabetes but that the difference in risks between men and women remained.

“Men with diabetes are at greater risk of complications, irrespective of diabetes duration,” they said. “High rates of complications in both sexes highlight the importance of targeted complication screening and prevention strategies from diagnosis.”

Dr Faye Riley, research communications manager at Diabetes UK, said: “This research underlines the serious harm diabetes can do, and that too many men and women develop avoidable diabetes complications.

“This study is one piece of a larger puzzle, with other evidence revealing a complicated picture of the different risks and inequalities men and women with diabetes face.

“A deeper understanding of sex-based differences in diabetes complications will be essential to tailor care and help more people to live well with the condition.”

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Schedule22 Jun 2024