Women With Type 1 Diabetes At Greater Risk Of Death Than Men

Posted: Feb 7 2015, 10:58pm CST | by , Updated: Feb 7 2015, 11:11pm CST, in News | Also on the Geek Mind


Women with Type 1 diabetes at greater risk of death than men
Credit: Getty Images
  • Increased risk of death and shorter life expectancy.
  • Great chance of cardiovascular diseases.
  • Gendered values help shape future medical care.

New meta-analysis research by the University of Queensland's School of Public Health shows that women face greater risk of death from Type 1 diabetes than men.

Bad news for women with Type 1 diabetes. A recent study by the University of Queensland's School of Public Health shows that women with Type 1 diabetes have a 40 percent higher risk of death than men. Research indicates that they are also more than twice more likely to die of heart disease than men.

Focusing on studies found in PubMed between Jan 1, 1966, and Nov 26, 2014, the researchers used "random effects meta-analyses with inverse variance weighting to obtain sex-specific SMRs and their pooled ratio (women to men)" to list all-cause mortality.

The mortality rates were limited to "cardiovascular disease, renal disease, cancer, the combined outcome of accident and suicide, and from incident coronary heart disease and strokes associated" with the disease. In total, the 26 studies involved over 200,000 men and women with Type 1 diabetes.

ScienceRecorder.com notes that Type 1 disease is “is a condition where insulin-producing beta cells in the pancreas are destroyed, leading to increased blood and urine glucose” and must be controlled with artificial insulin for the rest of the patient’s life.

Signs of the condition include increased thirst, frequent urination, losing weight rapidly, blurry or impaired eyesight, losing the feeling in feet or hands (neuropathy), fatigue, and a change in skin condition due to dehydration.

According to study leader Rachel Huxley, a professor at the university, the gender difference may help in providing better management and control for women. "It is speculated that women with type 1 diabetes tend to have greater difficulties with insulin management and glycaemic control than men – factors that could contribute to their increased risk of heart disease."

If the speculation is true, the study helps begin "to determine why the disease poses a greater risk to women than men." Finding a pattern or causation will help those battling the disease, too. While medical science understood that "people with type 1 diabetes have shorter life expectancies than the general population," the study provides proof that women face a higher mortality risk than men.

Huxley also said that women were more likely to face strokes (fatal and nonfatal) and a 44 percent chance of death by kidney disease. Neither prospect is highly desirable for women with type 1 diabetes, so focusing on how to manage and control based on signifiers will prolong lives.

However, a bit of not so sucky news is that neither gender faces a higher rate of cancer. So, bright spot, women? Maybe?

And earlier this month, the U.S. Food & Drug Administration announced Mannkind and Sanofi's whistle-sized Afrezza was announced to be the only inhalable insulin treatment in the U.S. Sanofi hopes a new Lantus-style product called Toujeo will help increase flagging sales. Currently, Danish pharmaceutical company Novo Nordisk is working on an oral form of insulin. However, experts admit the quick protein breakdown is hard to combat.

Until generic insulins are prevalent on the market, many patients are forced to switch medications as drug companies attempt high profits. With the rise of quality care and the need for more options, perhaps the latest medical supplies will help women combat the risks of living with Type 1 diabetes.


Source: University of Queensland Australia, The Lancet, Science Recorder, Reuters

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