Women are special in many important ways. For instance, a woman is often the person responsible for making the health and lifestyle decisions for her family. Sometimes, she is so busy caring for others that she may neglect her own health.
About 9.7 million women in the United States have diabetes, a disease that affects the way the body converts food into energy. The prevalence of diabetes is at least two to four times higher among African American, Latino, Native American and Asian/Pacific Islander women than among Caucasian women. Because of the increasing lifespan of women and the rapid growth of minority populations, the number of women in the United States at high risk for diabetes and its complications are increasing.
Women are hit harder by diabetes in a multitude of ways. For instance, women with diabetes are at greater risk for heart disease and stroke compared with men.
Forty-five percent of women with diabetes have heart disease, compared to 39 percent of men. What's more, once women develop heart disease they tend to have a poorer outcome than men. After suffering a heart attack, women have a higher risk of dying or having a second heart attack than do men.
Women with diabetes are more likely to have other risk factors for heart disease and stroke than women without diabetes. These risk factors include high blood pressure and high cholesterol.
One way for women with diabetes to reduce their risk for heart disease and stroke, according to the American Diabetes Association, is to know their diabetes ABCs: