Rates of Heart Disease are Worse for Diabetic Women
As technology enables us to learn more about the human body, and medical studies teach us that the physiology of men and women are different in more ways than our anatomies, we are learning that life-altering diseases, such as Type 2 Diabetes, affect women differently than men.
For the last few decades, scientists have learned that women experience different symptoms for some medical conditions than men do. Heart attacks, stroke, autoimmune diseases, among other health conditions, all affect women differently than men. The knowledge is there now, but not exactly the reasons behind it.
A new study, published in Diabetologia, and referenced here, explains the new findings. Scientists adjusted for health risk factors like blood pressure, cholesterol levels, age, and weight but still found that Type 2 Diabetic women were more likely to suffer from heart disease than men who were Type 2 Diabetic. In fact Type 2 Diabetic women are 44% more likely to suffer from heart conditions that were both fatal and non-fatal.
The scientists weren't able to exactly determine why Type 2 Diabetic women suffered more heart disease and heart attacks than men who were Type 2 Diabetic, but the lead scientist thinks that it might have to do with the lifestyle path leading up to the diabetes diagnosis.
Type 2 Diabetes is a medical condition that you inherit, not through birth, like Type 1 Diabetes, but through poor lifestyle choices such as eating too much sugar and not getting enough exercise. Eventually the weight gain that typically follows this kind of lifestyle behavior is more than the pancreas can regulate with its own insulin.
More sugar or simple carbohydrate intake and less exercise, makes the body gain and retain weight. Sugar has been found to be as or more addictive than crack cocaine. Initially, the pancreas creates insulin on its own, to counter all the sugar. Eventually, as the bad habits continue, the pancreas can not create enough insulin to lower the blood sugar levels. This is when Type 2 Diabetes takes over.
The study showed that women have to gain more weight than men to become Type 2 Diabetic. They theorize that since it is more difficult to become diabetic, as a woman, that woman will more than likely be already more overweight and already suffering from diagnosed and undiagnosed medical issues like obesity, sleep apnea, arteries filled with bad cholesterol, and other pre-diabetic symptoms.
Why do women have to gain more weight than men to become diabetic? That wasn't understood nor studied, but science has shown that women typically have higher levels of fat stores than men and the hormone estrogen plays a large role in weight loss and weight retention.
So chalk it up to the female anatomy, but no matter, this study is yet another one that proves that women must be more diligent about maintaining a healthy BMI, exercising daily, and eating right. The scientific community has not been able to completely reverse Type 2 Diabetes in anyone although weight loss through eating healthy foods and exercise has shown to lessen the deadly side-effects of having it.
So the first step in prevention of heart disease in women? Don't get Type 2 Diabetes.