Women, Diabetes, and Cardiovascular RiskFriday, February 03, 2012
Women tend to have a lower risk of cardiovascular disease than men, unless they have diabetes, shows combined research from the British Regional Heart study and the British Women’s Hearth Health study. Researchers analyzed all a variety of cardiovascular risk factors, including insulin resistance, inflammation, activated coagulation, waist circumference, high body mass index, high blood pressure, high cholesterol levels, and endothelial dysfunction in a group of more than 7,500 men and women between the ages of 60 and 79. They found that women who did not have diabetes tended to have more favorable risk factors when compared to men who did not have diabetes, but this difference was not noted in women with diabetes. In addition, several risk factors were much greater for women with diabetes than for women who did not have diabetes, while the differences in those risk factors were not as pronounced between men with diabetes and men without diabetes. For example, men with diabetes had an average waist circumference that was 4.7 cm greater than men without diabetes, but women with diabetes’ waists were 8.2 cm greater than those without diabetes. This may explain why women with diabetes have a higher risk of developing cardiovascular disease when compared to women who do not have diabetes, relative to men with and without diabetes. The researchers observed more profound metabolic changes in women who develop diabetes than in men who develop diabetes. They also suggest that diabetes diagnostic criteria may need to establish different thresholds for women and men.