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Diabetes In Women Is Not More Common Than In Men

Busting the myth that diabetes in women is more common, and identifying the unique symptoms women experience with this condition.

Coming from a family where my father, grandmother and aunt are diabetes patients, I have always felt that I will also be diagnosed with diabetes soon. I had assumed, diabetes in women was a given factor! I am 35 now, and thankfully to date, nothing untoward has shown up in my blood tests.

But that doesn’t mean I have stopped my constant research on this metabolic disorder. As more women in my family suffered from this condition, I was under the impression that diabetes was more common in women.

I also learnt that this condition could cause more severe effects in women than men.

Read on to understand these effects, busting the myth that diabetes is more common in women and identifying the unique symptoms women experience with this condition.

But first, let us understand what diabetes is

Diabetes is a metabolic disorder in which your blood glucose or blood sugar is high for prolonged periods. Blood glucose comes from your food and is your primary energy source.

Insulin, a hormone made by the pancreas, is responsible for the glucose in food getting into the cells for energy. But when the body doesn’t produce enough or any insulin, the glucose remains in your blood without reaching the cells.

Over time, too much glucose in the blood can give rise to health problems. Although diabetes has no cure, it is a condition which you need to manage.

There are different types of diabetes found in women too.

  • Type 1 diabetes: – In this type, your body can’t make insulin due to autoimmune dysfunction, typically starting during childhood.
  • Type 2 diabetes is the most common type of diabetes and happens when your body cannot use insulin properly. It typically starts in adulthood.
  • Gestational diabetes: – it happens during pregnancy.

Is diabetes more common in women?

During the course of my research, I was surprised to know that type 2 diabetes is more common in men. However, women are more prone to diabetes due to their physiological makeup and may have more serious complications.

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Diabetes affects women differently due to hormonal imbalance, menopause, pregnancy, hormones fluctuation during the menstrual cycle etc.

These natural bodily processes that a woman experiences make it more difficult for women to maintain proper glucose levels. Despite this, it is still more men who suffer from diabetes than women.

Hence, this busts the myth that diabetes is more common in women.

Diabetes in numbers to understand whether diabetes is more common in women

The National Diabetes statistic report states that an estimated 37.3 million people had diabetes in 2019(in the United States), which includes 19.1 million men and 18 million women who are 18 years and older.

How does diabetes affect men and women differently?

Diabetes can look and feel different for women. Researchers have pointed out that diabetes increases the risk of heart disease by nearly four times in women, compared to about two times in men.

Women also experience worse outcomes after a heart attack than men. Even though we have busted the myth that diabetes is more common in women, we must understand that women have more diabetes-related complications than men.

Men and women have some common symptoms like increased thirst, frequent urination, fatigue, nausea, skin infections, and wounds that heal slowly etc. However, some symptoms are unique to women with this condition. They include: –

  • Candida Infections

High blood sugar levels, also known as hyperglycaemia, can trigger fungus growth. An overgrowth of yeast caused by the Candida fungus can cause vaginal or oral yeast infections, also known as thrush. This infection in the vaginal area can cause itching, discharge, painful sex and soreness.

Oral yeast infections cause the formation of a white coating on the tongue and inside the mouth.

  • UTI (urinary tract infections)

UTI occurs when bacteria enter the urinary tract. Women with diabetes are more prone to UTIs as the high sugar levels compromise the body\’s immune system. Some symptoms are painful urination, a burning sensation during urination, and bloody or cloudy urine.

  • Vaginal Dryness

High blood sugar levels can damage nerve fibres and cause diabetic neuropathy. This can lead to vaginal dryness as well as a tingling sensation in different parts of the body like hands, legs and feet

  • PCOS

PCOS is associated with a type of insulin resistance that increases blood sugar levels and elevates the risk of developing diabetes. Insulin resistance can be both a symptom or a cause of PCOS. Symptoms include weight gain, irregular periods, acne, depression and infertility.


Treatment for diabetes in women

There is no treatment for diabetes. Once you have been diagnosed with diabetes, you can only manage this condition.

  • Medications

While several medications are available for diabetes, the two most common medications are Insulin Therapy (for type 1 diabetes) and Metformin (lowers blood sugar levels).

  • Managing diabetes with lifestyle changes

Women may have to tackle unique obstacles when it comes to managing diabetes.

However, by establishing daily rituals and practices, they can minimize the effects of this condition. Some significant changes can include the following: –

  •  Exercising and maintaining optimum weight
  • Following a balanced diet that meets your requirements and has generous servings of fruits, vegetables and whole grains.
  • Monitor your blood sugar levels
  • Drinking lots of water and staying hydrated
  • Cut down on junk, oily and processed food
  • Reduce salt intake

We hope this article has helped bust the myth that diabetes is more common in women and has given you an insight into how women have unique obstacles to tackle when it comes to this condition.

Unmanaged diabetes in women can prove to be fatal; hence, making adequate lifestyle changes and taking care of your health and well-being is essential.

Image source: Kuldeep Mourya, Leanet via Getty Images, free on CanvaPro

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At Women's Web we try to bring you information on Fitness & Wellness topics of interest to you. This is not, however diagnostic or prescriptive information, so please do consult your doctor or therapist before using any of it.


About the Author

Anjali Paul

I am a mom who works from home and dabbles with writing when time permits.An avid reader since childhood, blogging and writing helps me de-stress.My five year old keeps me on my read more...

41 Posts | 45,213 Views

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