A group of medical experts in Vienna are calling for a change to the international guidelines for type 2 diabetes treatment. Publishing their findings in the journal Endocrine Review, they cite a wide array of recent studies that show men and women bear different risk factors, subtypes and metabolic biomarkers of the disease, ScienceDaily reports.

Type 2 diabetes occurs when the body becomes resistant to insulin, a hormone that helps the body regulate blood sugar. Currently, the guidelines for treatment of this metabolic disorder observe certain factors, such as age, socioeconomics, comorbidities and illness duration. But thus far, the effects of gender on the illness have not been included.

In the recent review, researchers referred to several studies that showed men are generally at a higher risk of developing diabetes, while women are “protected” for the majority of their lives by a higher disbursement of the hormone estrogen. Study authors also cited recent research that found women with a greater than normal amount of the male hormone testosterone are at a higher risk of diabetes than other women. Conversely, men who lacked testosterone risked developing the blood sugar disorder.

“The treatment of the illness should be increasingly more gender-specific and personalized,” wrote study authors in the review’s summary. The researchers noted that future diabetes screening programs and treatments should rely more on this updated research than a one-size-fits-all approach to the disease.

Gender can also exert strong effects on our cardiovascular health. Click here to learn more.