Study Finds Men at Greater Risk for Severe Diabetes Complications Compared to Women

Men are at a higher risk than women for severe health complications from diabetes (types 1 and 2), according to a long-term study published online in the Journal of Epidemiology & Community Health.

The study indicates that men have higher rates of cardiovascular disease, leg and foot issues, kidney complications, and diabetic retinopathy, regardless of whether they have had diabetes for less than 10 years or more than 10 years. Reported by Medical News Today

While the global prevalence of diabetes is similar for both men and women and is expected to increase to 783 million by 2045, the researchers note a significant difference in the incidence of complications between sexes. Cardiovascular disease is generally more common in men, but it was unclear whether this difference also applied to diabetes-related complications or if the duration of diabetes influenced these outcomes.

To investigate, researchers analyzed survey data from the 45 and Up Study in Australia, a large-scale prospective study of 267,357 individuals over the age of 45 in New South Wales (NSW). They linked these survey responses to medical records for 25,713 people with either type 1 or type 2 diabetes to monitor the development of major health issues associated with diabetes.

These health issues included cardiovascular disease (ischemic heart disease, transient ischemic attack (TIA), stroke, heart failure, diabetic cardiomyopathy); eye problems (cataracts, diabetic retinopathy); leg and foot problems (peripheral neuropathy, ulcers, cellulitis, osteomyelitis, peripheral vascular disease, and amputations); and kidney problems (acute kidney failure, chronic kidney disease, chronic kidney failure, dialysis, and kidney transplant).

According to News Medical, Nearly half of the study participants were aged 60 to 74, with men making up 57% (14,697) of the group. Men were also more likely to be overweight (39% compared to 29% of women) and had a higher prevalence of heart disease. Although smoking rates were similar between men and women, a higher proportion of men were former smokers (51% versus 29% of women).

Among the 19,277 people whose age at diabetes diagnosis was recorded, 58% had been living with the disease for less than a decade, while 42% had been living with it for 10 or more years.