Men Face Higher Risk of Diabetes Complications Compared to Women

Risk of Diabetes

By Dr. David Samadi

Men are significantly more at risk than women of developing debilitating and potentially lethal effects of diabetes, a new long-term study reveals.

While the overall rates of diabetes are similar between men and women, the study, published on May 16 in the Journal of Epidemiology & Community Health, found that men experience higher rates of serious complications. These include heart disease, eye disorders, kidney problems, and leg and foot issues, and it doesn’t matter how many years they have grappled with the disease.

Men with diabetes are at a higher risk of complications, regardless of how long they have had the disease.

Study Overview

Researchers analyzed data from a health survey of over 267,000 people aged 45 and older living in New South Wales, Australia. This data was linked to medical records from nearly 26,000 individuals with type 1 or type 2 diabetes.

The findings were striking:

  • Diabetic men were 51% more likely to develop heart disease.
  • They were 47% more likely to suffer from leg and foot complications.
  • They had a 55% higher likelihood of kidney disease.
  • Men also had a 14% higher risk of developing diabetic retinopathy, a serious eye disease.

Why Men Are More at Risk?

The study suggests several reasons why men might face more severe diabetes complications. Men were found to have higher rates of other risk factors associated with these health problems. For instance:

  • 39% of men were overweight compared to 29% of women.
  • 51% of men were ex-smokers, compared to 29% of women.

Additionally, men were less likely to adopt lifestyle changes, take preventive medications, or get regular health checks to lower their risks.

Complications in Women

While men are at higher risk, complications are still prevalent among women with diabetes. The study highlighted that for every 1,000 people with diabetes, an average of 37, 52, 21, and 32 people develop cardiovascular disease, eye, lower limb, and kidney complications each year, respectively.

The Importance of Early Intervention

The researchers emphasized the need for targeted screening and prevention strategies from the time of diabetes diagnosis. The similar sex differences in complications for those with shorter compared to longer diabetes duration highlight the importance of early and proactive healthcare interventions.


Men with diabetes are considered to be at a higher risk of developing complications, particularly cardiovascular disease, kidney issues, and lower-limb complications. However, it is important to note that both men and women experience high rates of complications. This emphasizes the critical need for effective diabetes management and preventive care for individuals of all genders from the outset.


Dr. David Samadi is the Director of Men’s Health and Urologic Oncology at St. Francis Hospital in Long Island. He’s a renowned and highly successful board certified Urologic Oncologist Expert and Robotic Surgeon in New York City, regarded as one of the leading prostate surgeons in the U.S., with a vast expertise in prostate cancer treatment and Robotic-Assisted Laparoscopic Prostatectomy.  Dr. Samadi is a medical contributor to NewsMax TV and is also the author of The Ultimate MANual, Dr. Samadi’s Guide to Men’s Health and Wellness, available online both on Amazon and Barnes & Noble. Visit Dr. Samadi’s websites at robotic oncology and prostate cancer 911. 

Men Face Higher Risk of Diabetes Complications Compared to Women
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Dr. David Samadi