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Women with diabetes “have it worse” according to research from a 2007 study that showed,

“between 1971 and 2000, death rates fell for men with diabetes, while rates for women with the disease didn’t budge. Plus, while men with diabetes live 7.5 years less on average than those who don’t have the disease, among women the difference is even greater: 8.2 years.”

Why the difference? It makes me think about studies that show women are less likely to ask for promotions at work, and I wonder if it’s not the same thing with the doctor? Are we less likely to question our doctors about health concerns? Or are we too busy worrying about everyone else that we forget to worry about ourselves?

“The most important take-home message may just be that women with diabetes need to watch out for themselves and that their doctors need to watch out for them. While biology is important, it isn’t everything. There are lifestyle choices women (and men) can make, like exercising regularly and eating well, to improve their health. Good communication with a doctor about the effect of diabetes on a woman’s health in particular is also important; doctor and patient should discuss whether medications are needed to get blood pressure and blood fat levels on target. It’s clear that women with diabetes have an extra burden to bear. And it’s just as clear that, male or female, people with diabetes can do a lot to be aware of these issues—and take care to get healthy.”

Read more: Diabetes Forecast