New research has discovered that men with diabetes face a higher risk of significant health issues compared to diabetic women. The study, which includes contributions from researchers at The University of Sydney, Australia, found that complications from diabetes—such as heart disease, and diseases of the legs, feet, kidneys, and eyes—are more prevalent in men than in women, regardless of the duration of their diabetes.

The study involved 25,713 individuals, all aged 45 and above, with either type 1 or type 2 diabetes. Participants were monitored through surveys over 10 years for major health issues related to diabetes, and their responses were correlated with their medical records. The researchers discovered that 44 per cent of the men encountered cardiovascular complications, such as stroke and heart failure, whereas only 31 per cent of the women did. These findings were published in the 'Journal of Epidemiology and Community Health'.

Further, 25 per cent and 35 per cent of the men were found to develop conditions of leg/foot and kidney, respectively, as compared to 18 per cent and 25 per cent of the women, respectively. Problems of the leg/foot included ulcers and bone inflammation, while those of the kidney included chronic disease and failure. Overall, the researchers found that diabetic men were 51 per cent more likely to develop heart problems than diabetic women.

Men with diabetes were also found to be 55 per cent and 47 per cent more likely to develop complications in the kidney and leg/foot, respectively. However, regarding the overall risk of developing eye complications, the team found little difference between men and women.

Of the

participants, 57 per cent of the men developed these conditions, while among women, 61 per cent developed them. Men were found to have a 14 per cent higher risk of developing sight-threatening eye disease diabetic retinopathy.

"Men had a 1.5-fold increased risk of cardiovascular disease (CVD), lower limb, and kidney complications, and risk of diabetic retinopathy was 14 per cent greater in men than in women.

These findings are reflected in the ~1.4 times higher 10-year rates for CVD, lower limb, and kidney complications in men compared with women," the authors wrote.

The researchers said that while rates of developing complications because of diabetes rose in tandem with the number of years lived with the metabolic disease for both men and women, the sex-based differences in complication rates persisted.

As a possible explanation, the researchers pointed out that the men in the study were more likely to have well-known risk factors. Men, in general, may also be less likely to make lifestyle changes, take preventive medications, or get health checks to lower their risks, they suggested.

Being an observational study, no causal factors could be established, the researchers said.
They also acknowledged a lack of information on potentially influential factors, such as diabetes medications and glucose and blood pressure levels.

The authors said that even though men with diabetes are at a higher risk of developing complications, these rates are high in both men and women. The findings highlighted the need for targeted screening for complications, and prevention strategies following diagnosis, they said.
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