World Diabetes Day: Women and Diabetes

World Diabetes Day (14 November) 2017 is observed annually. This year’s theme is Women and Diabetes

World Diabetes Day: fast facts and figures

Currently, over 199 million women are living with diabetes. By 2040, this total is projected to increase to 313 million. Gender roles and power dynamics influence vulnerability to diabetes, affect access to health services and health seeking behaviour for women, and amplify the impact of diabetes on women.

Diabetes is the ninth leading cause of death in women globally, causing 2,1 million deaths each year. Due to socioeconomic conditions, females with diabetes experience barriers in accessing cost-effective diabetes prevention, early detection, diagnosis, treatment and care. Particularly in developing countries.

Socioeconomic inequalities expose women to the main risk factors of diabetes. These include poor diet and nutrition, physical inactivity, tobacco consumption and harmful use of alcohol.

Diabetic women and pregnancy

Two out of every five women with diabetes are of reproductive age, accounting for over 60 million women worldwide. Women with diabetes have more difficulty conceiving and may have poor pregnancy outcomes. Without pre-conception planning, Type 1 and Type 2 diabetes can result in a significantly higher risk of maternal and child mortality and morbidity.

Gestational diabetes (GDM), a severe and neglected threat to maternal and child health affects approximately one in seven births. Many women with GDM experience pregnancy related complications, including high blood pressure, large birth weight babies and obstructed labour. A significant number of women with GDM also go on to develop Type 2 diabetes, resulting in further healthcare complications and costs.

Stop the stigma

In addition, females with diabetes face pronounced stigmatisation and discrimination. This is because they carry a double burden of discrimination because of their health status and the inequalities perpetrated in male dominated societies. These inequalities can discourage girls and women from seeking diagnosis and treatment, preventing them from achieving positive health outcomes.

About the World Diabetes Day 2017 campaign

The campaign promotes the importance of affordable and equitable access for all women at risk for or living with diabetes. Therefore, essential medicines and technologies, self-management education required to achieve optimal outcomes will be the focus. Thus will strengthen women’s capacity to prevent Type 2 diabetes.

Click here for ways to get involved.

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