Women with type 2 diabetes may have worse cardiovascular outcomes than men

Among adults with type 2 diabetes, women are twice as likely as men to have coronary heart disease, according to a scientific statement from the American Heart Association.

The findings were published online in Circulation on Dec. 7.

The co-chairs of the 16-member committee that evaluated sex differences in the cardiovascular outcomes in diabetics were Judith G. Regensteiner, PhD, FAHA and Sherita Golden, MD, MHS, FAHA.

In 2012, approximately 9.3 percent of the U.S. population (29.1 million people) had diabetes, nearly all of whom had type 2 diabetes. The researchers said that approximately 12.6 million women and 13 million men who are at least 20 years old currently have type 2 diabetes.

Cardiovascular disease accounts for more than 75 percent of hospitalizations and more than 50 percent of deaths among patients with type 2 diabetes.

The researchers mentioned that patients from racial and ethnic subgroups with diabetes have sex differences in biological and social/cultural factors, which could influence cardiovascular consequences of diabetes.

They found that women with type 2 diabetes have heart attacks at an earlier age, are more likely to die after a first heart attack, are less likely to undergo angioplasties or CABG, are less likely to have cholesterol lowering drugs and are less likely to have their blood sugar or blood pressure under control compared with men.

“Cardiovascular disease may be more deadly for women with Type 2 diabetes than it is for men,” Regensteiner said in a news release. “While we don’t fully understand how the inherent hormonal differences between men and women affect risk, we do know that some risk factors for heart disease and stroke affect women differently than men and there are disparities in how these risk factors are treated.”