Type 1 Diabetes ‘more dangerous’ in women

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Published: Feb 7, 2015

Lancet Diabetes & Endocrinology published a new research study which analyzes data from 26 studies on diabetes starting from 1965. This research study discovered that deaths of female patients with type 1 diabetes were 37% more than deaths among the male.

Though this result came from an extensively done research, there are certain drawbacks. As the research was done on studies from the past 60 years, there is a possibility of not considering the confounding variables in the same order as we do today. However, arguments amongst researchers have concluded that confounding factors will be the same amongst both the genders. The outcome of the study is still important.

Diabetic woman

The meta-analysis done on several studies starting from 1965 to 2010, comprised of over 200,000 patients, amongst which 15000 deaths occurred.  The participants of the studies ranged from age-groups 15 to 30, and were from various parts of the world.

Even though the studies were carried out in various parts of the world, like U.S, Japan and Estonia, the results concluded the same thing: deaths among women patients were more than that among men.

This means that women have more risk of dying from a cardiovascular disease than men, but not that women die more due to acquiring diabetes, according to scientists. These studies are a way of finding the likelihood of women dying due to heart diseases. The studies provide an estimate of the risk factor in women suffering from type 1 diabetes.

Today, with the advancement of technology, medicines and research, it may be likely to say that the number of deaths are much lower than what they were before. People are becoming more aware and taking steps to prevention, but this does not mean that diabetes should be considered to be only a chronic disease when it has the potential to be life threatening.

Director, translational research, of Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation, Helen Nickerson says the research has given a new outlook. The result tells us that even though we knew that diabetes type 1 caused loss of cardio-renal protection, the increase in the chances of death because of heart diseases (due to diabetes) was not realized.

She adds that even though the paper does not clearly state how the risk actors like, high cholesterol, blood pressure or blood sugar level, affected the deaths, the paper has been able to emphasize on the importance of controllable risk factors which could prevent death amongst women with type 1 diabetes.

What is the cause behind more deaths in women, due to cardiovascular diseases, than men? It may be because of the decline in glycaemic control among women than in men.  In women diagnosed with diabetes type 1, this could occur during puberty, due to the dysfunction in insulin production.

Researchers believe that due to eating disorders women provide less amount of insulin to their bodies as compared to men. Bulimia is one of the common eating disorders in women.

However, others still believe that high risk of cardiovascular diseases in women could also result from that fact that they are women, because they suffer from more hormonal imbalance than men.

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