kely to get aggressive treatment than men.
Diabetic women are diagnosed with heart disease later in their illness, receive less preventive care and are less likely to be treated properly for high cholesterol. Diabetes, which doubles the risk for heart disease, is occurring at younger ages than in previous generations, mainly because of increasing obesity.
"Clearly, women with diabetes deserve much more attention than they receive," endocrinologist Ronald Goldberg of the Diabetes Research Institute in Miami says. "To some degree, this is an obstacle to aggressive therapy, because physicians have traditionally thought of pre-menopausal women as at lower risk" for heart disease, he adds
An estimated 9.7 million American women have diabetes, and almost one-third of them don't know it. Women with diabetes are more likely to have a heart attack, and at a younger age, than women without diabetes.
Diabetes is at least two to four times more common among black, Hispanic, American Indian, and Asian/Pacific Islander women than white women. The risk for the disease increases with age. Given the increasing life span of women and the rapid growth of minority populations, the number of women in the United States at risk for diabetes is increasing.
There are some clear cut discrepancies in a similar study conducted in Canada.
The gender gap found in the U.S. diabetic population can't necessarily be extrapolated to Canada, said Toronto endocrinologist Dr. Lorraine Lipscombe.
In a study she co-authored as a researcher at the Institute for Clinical Evaluative Sciences, published in March, Lipscombe said death due to the complications of diabetes in Ontario fell for both men and women between 1995 and 2005.
"In our study we did not find any difference between men and women and we found an overall decline of about 25 per cent," said Lipscombe.
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