Diabetes : Diabetes is Riskier for Women’s Hearts

Type 2 diabetes significantly increases the risk for heart disease, and a large analysis of studies finds that diabetes appears to be a bigger threat to heart health for women than men—and this was after adjusting for other cardiovascular health risk factors such as age, blood pressure, cholesterol, smoking, and body mass index. “The risk of coronary heart disease conferred by diabetes is between 40 percent and 50 percent greater for women than men,” says study co-author Rachel Huxley.

“The difference may stem from the fact that men develop type 2 diabetes earlier than women and at a lower weight,” Huxley says. “Because of this, men receive treatment sooner for both their diabetes and potential heart risks.”

Although the study doesn’t prove a cause-and-effect relationship between diabetes, gender, and heart disease, the findings do strongly suggest that doctors need to consider gender when treating chronic diseases. “Screening for diabetes should be different in women than in men,” says the study’s lead author, Sanne A.E. Peters.

“Diabetes a Risk Factor for Incident Coronary Heart Disease in Women Compared to Men…” by Sanne A.E. Peters et al., Diabetologica, 5/14 • “Diabetes May Be Bigger Threat to Female Heart: Study by Dennis Thompson, HealthDay, 5/14 • “Women with Diabetes Face Greater Heart Risks Than Men” by Nicholas Bakalar, New York Times 5/14
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