Men with diabetes aren’t so good at taking diet advice and may die earlier as a result

Personally tailored diabetes care reduces mortality in women, but not men, according to research published in Diabetologia, the journal of the European Association for the Study of Diabetes.

The study, by Dr Marlene Krag of the University of Copenhagen, found that women given specific recommendations about their diet and lifestyle were 26 per cent less likely to die of any cause and 30 per cent less likely to die of a diabetes-related cause than women given standard care. They were also 41 per cent less likely to have a stroke.

In an earlier study, a reduction in glycated haemoglobin (HbA1c — a standard method for measuring blood glucose control) was also observed in women but not men.

The difference between genders was statistically significant for all-cause mortality and diabetes-related death. Dr Krag said:

‘Structured personal diabetes care could provide women with significant attention and support and thus provide an incentive to treatment adherence. Women accept disease and implement disease management more easily, which might affect long-term outcomes.

‘Masculinity may be challenged by diabetes, demanding daily consideration and lifestyle changes. The structured approach could conflict with men’s tendency to trust self-directed learning instead of self-management.

‘We propose that the improved outcomes in women may be explained by complex social and cultural issues of gender. There is a need to further explore the gender-specific effects of major intervention trials in order to rethink the way we provide medical care to both men and women, so that both sexes benefit from intensified treatment efforts.’