HEALTH FEATURE ARCHIVE

Women with Diabetes Face Greater Risk of Heart Disease

If you are overweight, you are at risk for diabetes. And if you are a woman, you should know that diabetes can affect you differently than a man, particularly your heart.

Diabetes is on the rise, both in men and women, young and old. Some 16 million Americans have diabetes, about one-third of whom do not know it. More people than ever before are developing type 2 diabetes, mainly because of obesity and inactivity, the two major risk factors for this type of diabetes. Most women with diabetes have type 2 diabetes, which is more common in older people. Women who develop diabetes during pregnancy, known as gestational diabetes, are at increased risk of developing type 2 diabetes later in life.

Diabetes can lead to blindness, kidney failure, nerve damage that can result in foot or leg amputation, heart disease, and stroke . Special attention must be paid to this public health problem, particularly in women.

Did You Know That...

  • About 90 percent of diabetes in the U.S. is the type 2 form, which occurs in most people after the age of 40.
  • Type 2 diabetes is increasing in young people, especially among those who are overweight, physically inactive, or have a family history of diabetes.
  • Obesity is a major risk factor for diabetes. Upper-body obesity is a stronger risk factor for type 2 diabetes than excess weight below the waist.
  • Regular physical activity can protect against type 2 diabetes, while a lack of exercise is a risk factor for developing diabetes.