Type 2 Diabetes: Different Gender, Different Treatment

Many factors go into the treatment of type 2 diabetes: a patient's age, health, lifestyle, and environment. But now, new research suggests we consider one thing more – gender.

This study, which comes from The Medical University of Vienna in Vienna, Austria, proposes that diabetes treatment become more specialized – that is to say, more gender specific.

It's All About Biology

In a press release from the University, study author Alexandra Kautzky-Willer explains:

“[F]rom a biological aspect, men are principally at a higher risk of contracting diabetes mellitus; women are "protected" for a while due to the increased disbursement of the estrogen hormone until menopause causes a hormonal change and reduces this protection.”

Findings also indicated that gender-specific biomarkers might play an important role in the development and treatment of the disease; proteins Fetuin-A and Copeptin are biomarkers for women but not for men, and synthetically manufactured substances such as Bisphenol A or Phatalate effect the genders differently.

Psychological Stressors

Kautzky-Willer also suggests that social elements also factor into differences in diabetes development among the genders. For women, she says, "[P]sychosocial stress, stress on the job as well as lack of decision-making competency at high performance pressure or lack of sleep more frequently lead to diabetes than in men. This is often also intensified due to weight gain."

University researchers hope that their findings push the diabetes community to consider gender when creating and prescribing treatment options. They also hope to see gender-specific factors incorporated into the international guidelines for the management of type 2 diabetes. But in the meantime, Kautzky-Willer promises that gender-specific guidelines will be “incoporated in the praxis more than ever” at MedUni Vienna.

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