More women at risk of developing diabetes, says IDF

by Sarita Sheth on November 26, 2012

IDF estimates that by 2030 some 222 million women will have diabetes

As a result of increasing lifespan, the number of women at high risk of developing diabetes is rising, according to the International Diabetes Federation.

Over 300 million people worldwide have diabetes, and approximately half of these are women. The organisation points out that the health toll the condition takes on women is significant, particularly in terms of diabetes related complications such as heart disease. This results in high rates of mortality and morbidity of women with diabetes.

In 2010, there were an estimated 143 million women with diabetes. By 2030, this number is expected to rise to 222 million.

Diabetes is the ninth leading cause of death in women globally, causing 2.1 million deaths per year.

Also two out of every five women with diabetes are of reproductive age, accounting for over 60 million women worldwide.

The greatest increase in the female diabetes population over the next 20 years will be in the Middle East and North Africa Region (96%), followed by the Africa Region (90.4%) and South East Asia (74.4%), according to the IDF.

Diabetes is also an important maternal health issue. Gestational diabetes (GDM) is any glucose intolerance with onset or first recognition during pregnancy, and develops in one in 25 pregnancies worldwide.

The IDF says that preconception planning is crucial for women with type 1 and type 2 diabetes. Uncontrolled or undiagnosed diabetes in pregnancy is associated with the delivery of macrosomic or large for gestational age (LGA) infants. This can result in life threatening and costly complications for the mother, such as obstructed labour, and complications that threaten the life and health of the newborn child.

Also women with GDM and their offspring are at an increased risk of developing type 2 diabetes later in life. Approximately half of women with a history of GDM go on to develop type 2 diabetes within five to 10 years after delivery.

‘There is increasing evidence to support the theory that some diabetes is triggered by events in the womb. There are strong links between maternal malnourishment, offspring’s birth weight and the child’s consequent propensity to early insulin resistance,’ said an IDF spokesman.

‘This is particularly important in countries like India and throughout much of sub Saharan Africa where high levels of under-nutrition co-exist with rapid changes in nutrition in young adulthood,’ he added.

In 2010, IDF launched a signature programme on women and diabetes. This programme was launched to support the 143 million women with diabetes worldwide.

The opinions expressed in this article do not necessarily reflect the views of the Community and should not be interpreted as medical advice. Please see your doctor before making any changes to your diabetes management plan.

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