Diabetes Risk: Men, Women, and Children

In general, the symptoms of Type 1 diabetes are identical in  both men and women. Both men and women alike will experience a frequent urgency to urinate because the kidneys are attempting to rid the body of excess sugars. Also, all diabetics will have an extreme feeling of thirst, as a result of dehydration. Compared with men with diabetes, women with diabetes  have a higher risk of developing heart disease, a higher risk for blindness, and for depression. Data also shows that women are more likely to have uncontrolled glucose and cholesterol levels, be obese, and have a higher blood pressure.

NHLBI’s Framingham Heart Study done in 2010 concluded that diabetes was found to be a stronger risk for Cardiovascular disease in women than men. It was observed only in women that pre-diabetes shared a link with an increased risk of developing Cardiovascular disease, but not in men. [4] Other studies show that heart attacks were more fatal for women with diabetes than men. Some scientists attribute the gender disparity to biological differences. It is also speculated that the HDL “good” cholesterol, which is normally higher in women, is lowered when diabetes comes into play and therefore by lowering the HDL creates a bigger risk for heart disease.

Aside from the slight risk differences between men and women diabetics, there are also disparities between the adult and youth populations. Type 2 diabetes was once known to rarely develop in those under the age of 40, but now has become more frequently diagnosed in children. Avail Clinical Research states, “it is now estimated that one of three cases of diabetes diagnosed in patients under the age of 18 is type 2 diabetes.” [11] Researchers believe that this increased development of Type 2 diabetes in children is due to the increased rates of obesity in children today and lack of physical activity. Children who develop diabetes are more likely to have at least one parent who is also a diabetic. A distinguishing symptom of diabetes usually presented in children with Type 2 is known as Acanthosis Nigricans. This condition is defined as an abnormal skin cell growth that presents itself as dark velvety-textured patches, commonly around the neck and armpits. Acanthosis Nigricans in children, and even adults too, is a good indication of future diabetes because it is an excess of insulin which is causing the rapid rate of skin cell growth. Some other common symptoms in children are frequent urination, thirst, and fatigue.