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Gender-specific diabetes care

Aug 16, 2019

The drivers of diabetes in the female target group include not only causes such as urbanization, obesity and poverty, but also gender-specific factors, like polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS), gestational diabetes mellitus (GDM), pregnancy and stress related to care-giving.

Women seem to be particularly vulnerable to changing landscapes and women from low-income settings are also increasingly more at risk of developing diabetes.
For this reason, and while addressing therapy and lifestyle modification in female patients, health care providers will also have to take into account a range of different factors, including biology, gender, social situation, cultural status, economic challenges and care-giving responsibilities.
Most importantly, health care providers will have to consider the life cycle of women as well, as a crucial part of gender-specific diabetes care.

In this discussion, members are asked:

1. What specific questions do we need to include while assessing a woman with diabetes?

2. Do you think the experience of diabetes is different in women?

3. What are the current guidelines recommending in terms of gender-specific diabetes care?

4. Are there cardiovascular (CV) risk factors that need special attention in women?

5. Is our choice of therapeutic agents influenced by gender-related considerations?

6. Is economic affordability a bigger issue for women than for men?

7. Are women’s awareness of diabetes and accessibility to care lower, in comparison to men’s?


Recommended readings:

  • MD Marianne J.Legato, MD Andrea Gelzer, MD Robin Goland, MD Susana A.Ebner, MD Sabitha Rajan, MD Victor Villagra, MPH Mark Kosowski, The Writing Group for The Partnership for Gender-Specific Medicine (2006). Gender-specific care of the patient with diabetes: Review and recommendations. Gender Medicine, Volume 3, Issue 2, June 2006, Pages 131-158. Available at


Information about the discussion leader

Dr. Usha Sriram is a practising endocrinologist currently based in Chennai, India, where she covers the role of Head of the Department of Endocrinology and Diabetes at TAG VHS Diabetes Research Centre. She pursued her MBBS in the year 1978 from Madras Medical College. She continued her training in Internal Medicine and Endocrinology and Metabolism in outstanding training programs in the US and obtained her American Board certification in both Internal Medicine and her specialty Endocrinology- Diabetes- Metabolism. In 2011, after 25 years as an endocrinologist, she began her most precious work on opening windows of opportunity for prevention and care of diabetes in Women and Girls, leading to the foundation of Diwwaaas, a non-profit organization dedicated to women health in general and the prevention and care of diabetes and non-communicable diseases (NCDs) in particular. By July 2016, Diwwaaas had trained 1000 women physicians on the nuances of diabetes care, prevention of complications and provided them with toolkits to do community awareness and treatment on the field.

This is the fifth in a series of discussions introducing some of the programme sessions that will be featured at the IDF Congress 2019 in Busan, Korea, 2-6 December 2019.