Diabetes confers a greater excess risk of heart failure in women than men, according to new research in Diabetologia (the journal of the European Association for the Study of Diabetes). Some 415 million adults world-wide live with diabetes – with approximately 199 million of them being women.
While Type-1 diabetes is associated with a 47 per cent excess risk of heart failure in women compared to men, Type-2 diabetes has a nine per cent higher excess risk of heart failure for women than men.
Of 5991 articles originally identified, 14 studies provided useable data for sex differences in the association between diabetes and the risk of heart failure. Two of these included data on type 1 diabetes—2 cohorts providing results for 3,284,123 individuals and 95,129 events. Data on type 2 diabetes and heart failure were available from 13 studies, involving 47 cohorts that included 11,925,128 individuals 249,560 heart failure events.
There are a number of reasons why women with diabetes are at greater risk of heart complications, said study co-author Sanne Peters of The George Institute for Global Health at the University of Oxford.
“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” said Peters.
“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,” Peters said.
The IDF reports that girls and women with diabetes experience a range of challenges. Gender roles, power imbalances, socioeconomic inequalities resulting in poor diet and lack of physical activity can all influence vulnerability to diabetes.
Women’s limited access to health services and lack of pro-activity when it comes to seeking treatment for health problems can also amplify the impact of diabetes, particularly in developing countries.
The study expects by the year 2040 around 313 million women will be suffering from the disease.
Diabetes is the ninth leading cause of death in women and claims 2.1 million female lives every year, more so than men. The number one leading cause of death for women is heart disease.
(with inputs from Agencies)