Men and women experience different co-morbidities in diabetes and prediabetes, study finds

Alex Williams
Mon, 16 Sep 2019
Men and women experience different co-morbidities in diabetes and prediabetes, study finds
A new study has identified differences in the conditions experienced by men and women with prediabetes and diabetes.

The study, conducted by Dr Olina Ofenheimer of the Sigmund Freud University Medical School, Vienna, and colleagues, measured the prevalence of prediabetes and diabetes in the study population and analysed sex and gender differences between co-morbidities.

Co-morbidities are disease processes that occur alongside each other. In this case, conditions occurring alongside prediabetes and diabetes were studied. These included: hypertension (high blood pressure), congestive heart failure, arrhythmia (abnormal heart rhythm), osteoporosis, kidney dysfunction, anxiety and depression.

It is possible that gender differences in lifestyle and behaviour, as well as biological differences between sexes, could result in differing rates of co-morbidities.

The observational study looked at over 11,000 people, aged between 6 and 80 years old, who all underwent a thorough clinical examination. It was determined whether each subject had prediabetes or diabetes, or not, and any additional conditions were identified and recorded.

The results showed the prevalence of prediabetes to be 23.6% in males and 17.1% in females, while the prevalence of diabetes was 7.3% in males and 3.7% in females. Notably, the prevalence of prediabetes was found to be 4.6% in children aged 6-10 years. It has previously been reported that rates of type 2 diabetes in children are on the rise.

The authors noted that: "Angina, heart attack and calcification (hardening) of the arteries were more prevalent in diabetic men than diabetic women, as well as mild anxiety and reduced cognitive processing speed. Like the comorbidity profile of prediabetic females, women with diabetes had a higher prevalence of irregular heartbeat (arrhythmia), and elevated signs of systemic inflammation compared with diabetic men. Prediabetic women also showed a higher prevalence of osteoporosis and depression compared with prediabetic men."

In addition, they said: "The unexpected 4.6% prevalence of prediabetes in children aged 6-10 underscores the need for population-based studies across all ages and the importance of starting diabetes prevention efforts at a young age, through a healthy lifestyle and diet for all, including children."

The findings were presented at the 55th Annual Meeting of the European Association for the Study of Diabetes (EASD) in Barcelona, Spain, which is running between 16-20 Sept.
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