Over two million Canadians are known to have diabetes. In addition to the economic burden placed on the healthcare system, the human cost associated with diabetes poses a heavy burden on those living with diabetes. The literature shows that apparent differences exist in diabetes complications and diabetes management between men and women. How self-care management and utilization of health services differ by sex is not clearly understood.
The purpose of this study was to explore sex differences in diabetes self-care and medical management in the Canadian population, using a nationally representative sample.
Data collected from the cross-sectional, population-based Canadian Community Health Survey (2007–2008) were used in these analyses. A bootstrap variance estimation method and bootstrap weights provided by Statistics Canada were used to calculate 95% confidence intervals. Bivariate analyses identified variables of interest between females and males that were used in subsequent multivariate analyses.
A total of 131,959 respondents were surveyed for the years of 2007 and 2008, inclusive. Fully adjusted multinomial and logistic regression analyses revealed sex differences for those living with diabetes. Compared to men with diabetes, women were more likely to be in the lowest income quintiles than the highest (OR: 1.8, 95% CI: 1.3-2.6) and were more likely not to have a job in the previous week (OR: 1.8, 95% CI: 1.4-2.4). Women were also more likely to avoid foods with fats or high calories (OR: 2.1, 95% CI: 1.4-3.0 and OR: 2.2, 95% CI: 1.6-3.0, respectively), to be concerned about heart disease (OR: 1.6, 95% CI: 1.1-2.2), and to be non-smokers (OR: 2.2, 95% CI: 1.6-3.0). However, despite their increased concern, women checked their blood-glucose less frequently on a daily basis than men (μwomen = 1.7, 95% CI: 1.7-1.8; μmen = 3.1, 95% CI: 2.9-3.2). Women were more likely to have an anxiety disorder (OR: 2.3, 95% CI: 1.7-3.2) and a mood disorder (OR: 2.4, 95% CI: 1.8-3.1), and more likely to be physically inactive (OR: 1.5, 95% CI: 1.2-1.8).
Our findings underscore the importance of addressing sex differences which may interfere with diabetes self-care. In women, addressing socioeconomic and psychological barriers, as well as limitations to active living are important; in men, the benefit of more effective nutrition therapy and smoking cessation interventions are suggested. The results for this study highlight the need to further investigate and eliminate disparities between the sexes in order to optimize health outcomes among Canadians with diabetes.
De Melo, M., de Sa, E., & Gucciardi, E. (2013). Exploring differences in canadian adult men and women with diabetes management: Results from the canadian community health survey.