Tuesday, June 18, 2024
Tuesday June 18, 2024
Tuesday June 18, 2024

Men with diabetes face higher risk of complications than women, study finds



New research highlights increased rates of cardiovascular disease, kidney issues, and foot problems in men with diabetes compared to women

Men with diabetes are at a higher risk of developing complications from the condition than women, according to a new study. Researchers from the University of Sydney analyzed data from the ongoing Australian 45 and Up study, which includes over 25,713 participants aged 45 and above with either type 1 or type 2 diabetes. The study reveals significant gender disparities in the development of diabetes-related health issues.

The research indicates that men are more susceptible to complications such as cardiovascular disease, kidney problems, and leg or foot ulcers. Over an average of 10 years, 44 percent of men in the study experienced heart-related complications, compared to 31 percent of women. Similarly, 25 percent of men reported leg or foot issues, while only 18 percent of women faced these problems. Furthermore, 35 percent of men had kidney complications, compared to 25 percent of women.

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Professor Sanjay Sisodiya, the study’s lead researcher, emphasized that men are 51 percent more likely to develop cardiovascular disease, 55 percent more likely to experience kidney issues, and 47 percent more likely to suffer from leg or foot complications. The study also found that men have a 14 percent higher risk of developing diabetic retinopathy, a condition that affects blood vessels in the retina and can lead to blindness.

The researchers suggest that higher rates of obesity and a greater reluctance to adopt healthier lifestyles or take medication contribute to the increased risk for men. They also highlighted the importance of targeted complication screening and prevention strategies from the time of diabetes diagnosis. Men’s higher likelihood of being overweight, having a history of heart disease or stroke, or being former smokers also contributes to their increased risk.

In contrast, the study found that eye problems were more common in women, with 61 percent developing complications compared to 57 percent of men. However, the overall risk of complications remains higher in men, underscoring the need for gender-specific approaches to diabetes management.

The study’s findings, published in the Journal of Epidemiology & Community Health, call for greater awareness and action to address the gender disparities in diabetes complications. Researchers recommend more targeted interventions and preventative measures to reduce the risk of complications in men with diabetes.

Dr. Faye Riley, research communications manager at Diabetes UK, stated, “This research underlines the serious harm diabetes can do, and that too many men and women develop avoidable diabetes complications. A deeper understanding of sex-based differences in diabetes complications will be essential to tailor care and help more people live well with the condition.”

Diabetes affects over 4.3 million people in the UK, with an estimated 850,000 more undiagnosed cases. Globally, a study published in The Lancet projected that 1.3 billion people could have the condition by 2050. The new research highlights the urgent need for effective management strategies to prevent complications and improve the quality of life for those living with diabetes.

The study also examined the impact of diabetes duration on the risk of complications. Among the participants, 58 percent had been living with diabetes for less than a decade, while the remainder had the condition for over 10 years. Despite the increased risk associated with longer disease duration, the researchers observed consistent gender differences in complication risks.

Overall, the research underscores the critical need for targeted healthcare interventions and preventative measures to address the higher complication risks in men with diabetes. By understanding and addressing these gender disparities, healthcare providers can better support individuals with diabetes in managing their condition and preventing severe health outcomes.


The findings of this study illuminate significant gender disparities in the risk of diabetes complications, necessitating a multifaceted response. Politically, the study calls for healthcare policies that prioritize gender-specific interventions and support programs. Governments should allocate resources to diabetes research and healthcare services, ensuring that men receive targeted education and interventions to manage their condition effectively.

Economically, the increased complication risks in men with diabetes impose a substantial burden on healthcare systems. Addressing these risks through targeted interventions can reduce healthcare costs associated with treating advanced diabetes complications. Preventative measures and early interventions are cost-effective strategies that can mitigate long-term healthcare expenses.

Sociologically, the study highlights the importance of addressing lifestyle factors that contribute to higher complication risks in men. Public health campaigns should focus on promoting healthy behaviours, such as regular exercise, balanced diets, and medication adherence, particularly among men. Additionally, addressing social determinants of health, such as access to healthcare and health literacy, is crucial for effective diabetes management.

From a local perspective, communities can play a vital role in supporting individuals with diabetes through local health initiatives and support groups. Community-based programs can provide education, resources, and social support to encourage healthier lifestyles and regular health check-ups.

Gender perspectives reveal that men may be less likely to seek medical help or engage in preventative health behaviours, leading to higher complication risks. Addressing these behavioural differences through gender-sensitive health communication and interventions can improve outcomes for men with diabetes. Healthcare providers should consider these gender-specific challenges and tailor their approaches accordingly.

Racial and minority perspectives emphasize the need for inclusive healthcare strategies that address the unique challenges faced by different demographic groups. Ensuring equitable access to diabetes care and resources for all populations is essential to reduce disparities in health outcomes. Culturally sensitive approaches can enhance engagement and adherence to diabetes management plans.

In conclusion, the study underscores the critical need for targeted, gender-specific interventions to address the higher complication risks in men with diabetes. By adopting a comprehensive approach that considers political, economic, sociological, local, gender, and racial perspectives, healthcare providers can improve diabetes management and prevent severe complications. Urgent action is required to ensure that individuals with diabetes receive the support and care needed to live healthy, complication-free lives.


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