Blood sugar control for type 1 diabetes better among men than women

Tue, 24 Sep 2013
Men with type 1 diabetes are better at controlling their blood sugar levels than women with disease, according to the findings of a new European study.

To investigate differences in blood sugar control in type 1 diabetes between the sexes, Professor Sarah Wild, of the University of Edinburgh, and colleagues from the International quality of care for type 1 diabetes group analysed data from over 140,000 child and adult type 1 diabetes patients across 12 countries.

The researchers used clinical records for blood sugar from the previous 12 to 24 months to compare the proportion of males and females with HbA1c levels of 7.5% (58mmol/mol) or over - i.e. poor blood sugar control. This ranged from nearly two-thirds (64.4%) of boys aged 15 and under to 74% of women aged between 15 and 29.

In the youngest age group (<15 years) there was no statistically significant difference in blood sugar control between boys and girls.

But in the two older age categories women aged 15-29 were 8% more likely to miss the recommended HbA1c target of 7.5% then men of the same age, while women aged 30 and over were 6% more likely to have HbA1c of 7.5% or over than men in the same age group.

"In this analysis of type 1 diabetes data from several countries males were more likely to have a better blood sugar control profile than females," Dr Wild concluded.

"One explanation could be that women tend to have lower haemoglobin levels than men which could explain the higher HbA1c levels, but further research is required to confirm this."

The study findings will be presented at this week's annual meeting of the European Association for the Study of Diabetes (EASD) in Barcelona, Spain.
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