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Structured “Personal Care Plans” Successful for Women – Not For Men

One headline read as follows:

“Men More Likely To Die From Diabetes Because They’re Too Stubborn To Diet.”

That was not the language used by researchers to describe a disturbing difference in mortality between men and women in a Swedish study which personalized diabetes management, but it wasn’t too far off. Dr Marlene Krag from the University of Copenhagen diplomatically explained that structured, personal care helped women “accept the disease and implement disease management more easily”, whereas the structured approach “goes against men’s tendency to trust self-directed learning instead of self-management.”

And, apparently the men in the study who practiced “self-directed” learning, rather than following personalized management advice, paid a price when compared to the women participants. After six years of structured personal care, the 478 women participants showed an improved A1C, a 30% reduction in death from diabetes-related causes, a 26% reduction in death from any cause, and a 41% reduction in their risk for stroke. The group of 492 men did not produce similar results.

I should note that I have observed differences in how women and men approach diabetes, and it is true that some men refuse to acknowledge diabetes, seeing an acknowledgement of this disease as a weakness. Personally, I try to engage men in the challenge of diabetes management – going “head to head” in a contest that can be won. It may not always be “politically correct” to talk about gender differences, but as I have observed (and as this study reinforces), it is important to consider how care is provided so that both women and men can benefit from effective diabetes self-management.

This article represents the opinions, thoughts, and experiences of the author; none of this content has been paid for by any advertiser. The team does not recommend or endorse any products or treatments discussed herein. Learn more about how we maintain editorial integrity here.