Globally, 2.1 million women die due to diabetes as opposed to 1.8 million men and diabetes is the ninth leading cause of death among women. Diabetes increases risk of heart disease by six times and reduces life span by 8 years as compared to women without diabetes.

In India, prevalence of the disease is 17.7% among urban middle class women while it is 10% in rural areas. Higher body fat percentage and abnormal lipid profile has been attributed as the major factors responsible for increased prevalence of diabetes among women in the developed and developing countries

Two out of every five women with diabetes are of reproductive age, accounting for over 60 million women worldwide (Kayal et al 2016) . Indian women have 11-fold increased risk of developing glucose intolerance in pregnancy compared to Caucasian women (Dornhorst et al 1992)  . Problems with  conception and poor pregnancy outcomes are more common in women with diabetes increasing risk of mortality in mother as well as the baby.

Among women in Andhra Pradesh and Telangana, higher fasting and postprandial blood glucose levels are noted as compared to men (Cheekurthy, Rambabu  & Kumar 2016).

In developing countries socio-economic barriers also prevent the early detection, treatment and care of women with diabetes. Women are more susceptible to substandard health patterns such as:

  • Poor diet and nutrition
  • Low physical activity (as in the form of exercise )
  • Consumption of tobacco
  • Use of alcohol

This year’s focus on increasing prevalence of diabetes in women is to highlight the importance of women’s health. Often, health of the homemaker takes a backseat as she is busy caring for other members. Family members and the society needs to come forward to  nurture and protect well-being of the women as they form the backbone of every household.

Reference:

https://www.idf.org/news/2:world-diabetes-day-2017-to-focus-on-women-and-diabetes.html

Kayal A, MOhan V, Malanda B et al 2016. Women in India with Gestational Diabetes Mellitus Strategy (WINGS): Methodology and development of model of care for gestational diabetes mellitus (WINGS 4). Indian J Endocrinol Metab. 2016 Sep-Oct; 20(5): 707–715.

Dornhorst A, Paterson CM, Nicholls JS, Wadsworth J, Chiu DC, Elkeles RS, et al. High prevalence of gestational diabetes in women from ethnic minority groups. Diabet Med. 1992;9:820–5

Cheekurthy AJP Rambabu C & Kumar A Prevalence of Type 2 Diabetes Mellitus among Women and the Associated Risk Factors. Research & Reviews: Journal of Nursing and Health Sciences Volume 2 | Issue 2 | June, 2016 26-30

Written by drpoojachhawcharia

Dr Pooja Chhawcharia is the Senior Nutritionist at eKincare with over 7 years of experience in Nutrition education, diet counseling and research. She is a Registered Dietician with the Indian Dietetic Association and Certified Diabetes Educator recognized by the International Diabetes federation . She is also interested in ancillary sciences such as Yoga and Naturopathy.

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