A new study released on February 5 in The Lancet Diabetes and Endocrinology revealed that diabetes mellitus type 1 is more deadly to women than men. The study says that women have a 40 percent higher risk of early death than men with type 1 diabetes. Women with the disease also have over two times the risk of dying from heart disease than men who have the same condition.
The study, which compiled results from about 26 different studies for a sample size of around 20,000 people, also found that diabetic women are also at higher risk for stroke and kidney disease than men with the same condition. They are 37 percent more likely to die of a stroke, and 44 percent more likely to die of kidney disease. Researchers attribute this increased risk to difficulty managing blood sugar and insulin.
Type 1 diabetes was once referred to as juvenile diabetes because it is more common in children, but it is now increasingly being seen in adults. Unlike type 2 diabetes, the cause of type 1 is unknown. It can be managed with insulin, but has not been linked to obesity or lack of activity. Type 1 diabetes is also commonly known as insulin-dependent diabetes because the pancreas does not produce insulin to regulate blood sugar levels.
A high blood sugar level in the body can lead to various complication to anyone having a hard time managing it. Patients who do not take insulin as directed by their doctors are risking severe damage to all of their organs.
Researchers have known for a long time that people living with diabetes mellitus have a shorter life expectancy than those without it. However, until now, a study has not been done to reveal whether women or men have the same risk of early death.
Diabetes mellitus type 1 is much more deadly to women when it comes to the development of heart-related complications. The main cause of death among women with the condition is coronary heart disease and cardiovascular disease.
Despite what may at first appear to be all bad news for women with diabetes mellitus, the researchers found that it is not a factor in increased risk of cancer in either sex. They also cite the study as incentive to change the way doctors treat women and help them manage their disease throughout their lifetime.
Now that this study has revealed an increased risk of complications for women with type 1 diabetes, doctors will be better able to monitor their patients’ conditions. They can monitor women more closely for signs of heart-related conditions.
Simon O’Neill, speaking on behalf of Diabetes U.K., issued a call to action for the N.H.S. which is being echoed around the world. He believes that people with diabetes need to receive individualized care to better manage their particular needs and any complications they may develop.
Whether diabetes mellitus is more deadly to women because they have more difficulty managing the disease or for other unknown factors, it is clear that this new study is causing healthcare professionals to rethink how they treat their patients. Many believe that it should spark a change in treatment methods for anyone living with type 1 diabetes.
By Kirstin Pinto