Women under 60 with diabetes at much greater risk for heart disease

October 31, 2013

Results of a Johns Hopkins study published today in the journal Diabetes Care found that young and middle-aged women with type 2 diabetes are at much greater risk of coronary artery disease than previously believed.

Generally, women under 60 are at far less risk for coronary artery disease than men of the same age. But among women of that age who have diabetes, their risk of heart disease increases by up to four times, making it roughly equal to men's risk of this same form of heart disease.

"Our findings suggest that we need to work harder to prevent heart disease in women under 60 who have diabetes," says Rita Rastogi Kalyani, M.D., M.H.S., endocrinologist at the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine and lead study author. "This study tells us that women of any age who have diabetes are at a high risk for coronary artery disease."

While men generally have a higher incidence of heart disease than women, the study found that diabetes had little or no effect on men's heart disease risk. Kalyani said the new study is believed to be the first to focus specifically on in disease among younger and middle-aged people with diabetes.

For the research, she and her colleagues analyzed data from more than 10,000 participants in three widely regarded studies: the GeneSTAR Research Program, the Multi-Ethnic Study of Atherosclerosis and the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES) III. None of the participants had a history of heart disease. All three studies yielded similar gender differences in rates of diabetes and the risk of developing heart disease.

"Our study adds to growing evidence that gender differences exist in the risk of brought on by diabetes," Kalyani says.

Interestingly, in both and men, these findings were unrelated to differences in obesity and other traditional cardiovascular risk factors such as high blood pressure, cholesterol and smoking.

Kalyani and her colleagues offer several possible explanations for the increased risk. There may be distinct genetic and hormonal factors related to the development of heart disease by gender. Differences in adherence to heart-healthy lifestyle behaviors, compliance and treatment of cardiovascular treatments between genders are also possible but need to be further investigated, Kalyani says. Also, the relationship of duration and glucose control to risk of remains unclear.

Explore further: Younger women with type 2 diabetes face higher risk of heart disease

Related Stories

Younger women with type 2 diabetes face higher risk of heart disease

September 12, 2013
Type 2 diabetes independently increases the risk of heart disease in premenopausal women, according to a study presented at the American Heart AssociationHigh Blood Pressure Research Scientific Sessions 2013.

Study findings may explain delayed onset of heart disease in women

September 24, 2013
A biological ability to compensate for the body's reduced response to insulin may explain why women typically develop heart disease 10 years later than men, according to a recent study accepted for publication in The Endocrine ...

Why do black women have a higher risk of death from heart disease than white women?

September 5, 2013
Among a group of women with symptoms of angina who were tested for a suspected coronary blockage, nearly 3 times as many black women as white women died of heart disease. The study determined whether differences in the women's ...

Smoking cessation, weight gain, and subsequent CHD risk

July 2, 2013
The authors used data from the Women's Health Initiative to assess the association between smoking cessation, weight gain, and subsequent coronary heart disease risk among postmenopausal women with and without diabetes.

Increased risk of heart attack and death with progressive coronary artery calcium buildup

May 2, 2013
Patients with increasing accumulations of coronary artery calcium were more than six times more likely to suffer from a heart attack or die from heart disease than patients who didn't have increasing accumulations, according ...

Baldness linked to increased risk of coronary heart disease

April 3, 2013
Male pattern baldness is linked to an increased risk of coronary heart disease, but only if it's on the top/crown of the head, rather than at the front, finds an analysis of published evidence in the online journal BMJ Open.

Recommended for you

Alzheimer's drug cuts hallmark inflammation related to metabolic syndrome by 25 percent

July 20, 2017
An existing Alzheimer's medication slashes inflammation and insulin resistance in patients with metabolic syndrome, a potential therapeutic intervention for a highly dangerous condition affecting 30 percent of adults in the ...

Diabetes or its precursor affects 100 million Americans

July 19, 2017
Almost one-third of the US population—100 million people—either has diabetes or its precursor condition, known as pre-diabetes, said a government report Tuesday.

One virus may protect against type 1 diabetes, others may increase risk

July 11, 2017
Doctors can't predict who will develop type 1 diabetes, a chronic autoimmune disease in which the immune system destroys the cells needed to control blood-sugar levels, requiring daily insulin injections and continual monitoring.

Diabetes complications are a risk factor for repeat hospitalizations, study shows

July 7, 2017
For patients with diabetes, one reason for hospitalization and unplanned hospital readmission is severe dysglycemia (uncontrolled hyperglycemia - high blood sugar, or hypoglycemia - low blood sugar), says new research published ...

Researchers identify promising target to protect bone in patients with diabetes

July 7, 2017
Utilizing metabolomics research techniques, NYU Dentistry researchers investigated the underlying biochemical activity and signaling within the bone marrow of hyperglycemic mice with hopes of reducing fracture risks of diabetics

Immune system killer cells increase risk of diabetes

July 6, 2017
More than half of the German population is obese. One effect of obesity is to chronically activate the immune system, placing it under continuous stress. Researchers in Jens Brüning's team at the Max-Planck-Institute for ...

0 comments

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.