Men vs. Women: How Diabetes Differs Between the Genders

You may think that the risks of diabetes and its complications are the same for everyone, but medical research has found that this is not the case. For instance, men are much more likely than women to get type 2 diabetes. It seems that guys are more prone to storing dangerous fat on their midsection which can affect insulin sensitivity and sets off a runaway metabolic train in the body.


The Effect of Diabetes on Women

However, when both genders have diabetes, women are much more likely to suffer from a variety of health problems. The biggest worry is cardiovascular disease. Diabetic women can be up to twice as likely as diabetic men to coronary heart disease. Researchers also found that women with diabetes tend to die sooner than men with the same diagnosis. Above all, those most likely to develop coronary artery disease and stroke were Hispanic and African-American women.

When it comes to kidney disease, men are usually more likely to develop it compared to women. However, a diabetes diagnosis seems to level the playing field for women, making them just as likely to get the disease!

So, What’s Going on Here?

If you’re wondering why men seem to do better with diabetes, the answer may be a combination of things. It seems that guys are more likely to have their blood pressure and blood sugar levels under control. They are also more likely to get angioplasty or a coronary artery bypass graft. Both of those are involved procedures but can be lifesaving when needed.


It also seems that women can experience different symptoms of a heart attack compared

Man having chest pain.

to men. The classic signs usually include chest tightness and a shooting pain down the left arm. During a heart attack, women are more likely to feel more nauseous, dizzy, and experience pain in their jaw or back. If a woman or her doctor isn’t fully aware of the potential symptoms for her, then it’s possible that one could be overlooked, resulting in a lack of treatment.

There may also be a biological difference that makes women more prone to developing these issues after diabetes hits. It could have something to do with lowered estrogen and increased testosterone that can occur with the disease. It may also have to do with higher triglycerides in the bloodstream and lowered HDL or good fats. Women have more good fats than men, but diabetes lowers this due to the high levels of triglycerides. Why this doesn’t appear to have the same effect on men isn’t fully clear yet.

Overall, men may be more likely to get diabetes, but women are more likely to develop certain complications from it.


[expand title=”References“]

How Diabetes Differs for Men and Women. URL Link. Accessed September 30th, 2017.

Sex differences in Type 2 diabetes affect cardiovascular disease risk. URL Link. Accessed September 30th, 2017.

Men at Higher Risk for Type 2 Diabetes. URL Link. Accessed September 30th, 2017.


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