By Everyday Health
Diabetes is a disease that doesn't discriminate. Still, women have a unique set of challenges when it comes to managing the disease.
By Chris Iliades, MD
Medically reviewed by Niya Jones, MD, MPH
Evidence indicates that diabetes — a disease that affects some 371 million people worldwide — takes a greater toll on women than men. Women's hormones account for some of the unique challenges women face, but other societal factors might also account for certain differences.
Shannon Knapp, RN, a certified diabetes educator at the Cleveland Clinic, has a unique perspective on diabetes in women because she herself has type 1. "No doubt, female hormones do make diabetes management more difficult for me and my women patients," Knapp says. "More estrogen means more insulin resistance."
Diabetes differences between men and women may also be due to other factors. "I think there may be some gender bias," explains Amber L. Taylor, MD, an endocrinologist who directs the Diabetes Center at Mercy Hospital in Baltimore. "Doctors who treat women with diabetes may not understand that sometimes women need to be treated more aggressively than men. Women with diabetes may also put themselves at risk by placing their role as family caregiver ahead of their role as self caregiver
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