Gender gap: Women living with diabetes end up facing social stigma

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Gender gap: Women living with diabetes end up facing social stigma

Diabetes, earlier considered a disorder affecting only the rich and affluent, is spreading its wings to include 70 million people in India today, both in urban and rural areas. Nearly half of those affected by this condition are women, in a population of 1.21 billion. What further exacerbates this situation is the fact that this condition is the reason for stigmatisation of women in the country.

Women living with diabetes face many problems, both physically and mentally. It can increase the risk of complications, particularly in women. What is unique about this disease is that it affects both mothers and the unborn child. Women often receive less aggressive treatment for conditions related to diabetes than men. The complications and warning signs in women are also often more difficult to diagnose, thus delaying treatment and leading to premature mortality.

Dr Sanjay Kalra — Consultant Endocrinologist, Bharti Hospital Karnal and Vice President, South Asian Federation of Endocrine Societies, said, “Women with high body mass index (BMI), waist circumference, waist-hip ratio, systolic blood pressure, fasting glucose, and cholesterol are more at risk of developing diabetes. Women diagnosed with diabetes not only undergo mental and psychological trauma but are also stigmatised in Indian society, particularly if they fall in the marriageable age group.”