Diabetes in Women

Diabetes mellitus is a disease in which the body's inability to produce insulin causes elevated levels of glucose in the blood. Diabetes is a serious health condition that affects women in all life stages.

Type 1 diabetes (formerly called juvenile-onset) occurs because the pancreas makes little or no insulin, a hormone that allows glucose to enter the body's cells and be used for energy.

Type 2 diabetes (formerly called adult-onset) usually develops after age 40 and occurs when the body's cells become resistant to insulin.

Of the 15.7 million people with diabetes in the United States, more than half (8.1 million) are women. Minority racial and ethnic groups are the hardest hit by type 2 diabetes; the prevalence is at least 2 to 4 times higher among black, Hispanic, American Indian, and Asian Pacific Islander women than among white women. About 90 to 95 percent of women with diabetes have Type 2 diabetes.

  • Diabetes can affect the health of both a mother and her unborn children. Children exposed to diabetes in the womb have a greater likelihood of becoming obese during childhood and adolescence and for developing type 2 diabetes, later in life.
  • The risk of heart disease, the most common complication of diabetes, is more serious among women than men.
  • Among people with diabetes who have had a heart attack, women have lower survival rates and a poorer quality of life than men.
  • Women with diabetes have a shorter life expectancy than women without diabetes, and women are at greater risk of blindness from diabetes than men.

With the increasing life span of women and the rapid growth of minority populations in the U.S., the number of women at high risk for diabetes and its complications will continue to increase, making diabetes a critical public health issue.

The AHN Center for Diabetes provides the most complete diabetes care available in the tri-state area. We use a team approach to treating this disease: board-certified endocrinologists, certified diabetes educators, registered dietitians, registered nurses and nurse practitioners work to help you manage your diabetes and maintain an optimum level of health.

Contact us

Call (412) DOCTORS (412) 362-8677 or request an appointment to learn more about AHN women’s health services.