Austin, TX -- Women have a "female advantage" when it comes to chronic kidney disease. When compared to men, they have fewer and less severe episodes of this disorder throughout most of their lives. That advantage disappears, however, when the woman is diabetic. For reasons still unclear, diabetic women -- regardless of age -- are diagnosed with kidney and heart diseases almost as frequently as men.
What is it about diabetes that predisposes a woman to develop renal disease at levels generally associated with her male counterpart" Researchers at Georgetown University's Center for the Study of Sex Differences in Health, Aging and Disease have been studying the phenomenon and have identified a novel observation to help explain why. The leader of this research team and the Center's Director of Diabetes Research is Dr. Christine Maric. She will discuss the state of the team's findings entitled, "Sex, Diabetes and Renal Injury," at the upcoming conference, Sex and Gender in Cardiovascular-Renal Physiology and Pathophysiology. The meeting, sponsored by the American Physiological Society (APS; www.The-APS.org), is being held August 9-12, 2007 at the Hyatt Regency Austin on Town Lake, Austin, TX.
Women are infrequently diagnosed with kidney or heart disease until they reach menopause. At menopause, when their sex hormone -- estrogen -- begins to disappear from their system, the rate of kidney disease begins to increase. As a result, estrogen is believed to have a protective effect against developing kidney and heart disease.
Unlike their non-diabetic counterparts of any age, women with diabetes are found to have similar rates of kidney and heart disease as males. Diabetic women are also known to have high rates of stillborn births, experience higher rates of menstrual difficulties, and have trouble conceiving.