Diabetes-heart failure link stronger in women: Oxford study

Based on a global study of 12 million people, researchers from the University of Oxford have found that diabetes increases the risk of heart failure and this increase is greater for women than men.

The differential was greater in type 1 than type 2 diabetes, the researchers from the university’s George Institute for Global Health say in findings published in ‘Diabetologia’, journal of the European Association for the Study of Diabetes.

Type 1 diabetes is associated with a 47% excess risk of heart failure in women compared to men, whilst type 2 diabetes has a 9% higher excess risk of heart failure for women than men, the research says.

According to the International Diabetes Federation, currently 415 million adults world-wide live with diabetes, with approximately 199 million of them being women.

“It is already known that diabetes puts you at greater risk of developing heart failure but what our study shows for the first time is that women are at far greater risk – for both type 1 and type 2 diabetes,” says the study’s lead author Toshiaki Ohkuma.

“The increased risk of heart failure following a diabetes diagnosis is significantly greater in women than men which highlights the importance of intensive prevention and treatment of diabetes in women”.

According to the study’s key findings, women with type 1 diabetes were associated with a more than 5-fold increased risk of heart failure compared with those without diabetes. For men, the risk was 3.5-fold higher.

Corresponding increases in risks for heart failure associated with type 2 diabetes were 95% in women and 74% in men. Researchers also found that both type 1 and type 2 diabetes were stronger risk factors for heart failure in women than men.

Type 1 diabetes was associated with a 47% greater excess risk of heart failure in women compared with men. Type 2 diabetes was associated with a 9% greater excess risk of heart failure in women than men.

Study co-author Sanne Peters says there are a number of reasons why women with diabetes are at greater risk of heart complications. “Women were reported to have two years’ longer duration of prediabetes than men and this increased duration may be associated with greater excess risk of heart failure in women”.

“Some major concerns are that women are also being undertreated for diabetes, are not taking the same levels of medications as men and are less likely to receive intensive care.”

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