International study confirms women with type 2 diabetes face higher stroke risk

by Barbara Hewitt on March 12, 2014

Evidence is mounting to show that women with type 2 diabetes are at a higher risk of suffering a stroke than men, with the latest study putting the risk factor at 27%.

women diabetes

Research shows that women with type 2 diabetes had a 27% greater risk of stroke than men

Researchers from the University of Queensland in Australia, the University of Cambridge in the UK and the George Institute for Global Health reviewed more than 60 studies and their report confirms other studies that the risk of a diabetes related stroke significantly differs in women and men.

‘Research has previously shown that diabetes confers a greater risk of having a heart attack in women than men, and now we have shown that this gender difference also extends to stroke,’ said Professor Rachel Huxley of the University of Queensland.

‘Data was pooled from three quarters of a million people, including more than 12,000 individuals who had suffered strokes, both fatal and non-fatal. Our analysis of the data showed, in comparison to men with diabetes, women with the condition had a 27% higher relative risk of stroke even after taking into account other risk factors such as age and blood pressure,’ she explained.

Diabetes is a global health concern, currently affecting an estimated 347 million people worldwide. It is predicted to increase by more than 50% over the next decade due to the prevalence of overweight, obese and physically inactive people.

‘With diabetes on the rise, there is an urgent need to establish why the condition poses a greater cardiovascular health threat for women than men. We don’t yet understand why diabetes is more hazardous for women in determining their cardiovascular risk compared with men, but existing studies suggest that it may be linked to obesity,’ said Huxley.

‘Men tend to become diabetic at lower levels of body mass index compared with women. Consequently, by the time women develop diabetes and begin receiving intervention from a GP, their levels of other cardiovascular risk factors, including BMI, are higher than in men with diabetes who may have been picked up and treated at an earlier stage of the condition,’ she pointed out.

‘It may be this chronic exposure to high levels of cardiovascular risk factors in the lead up to developing diabetes that may be responsible for the greater risk of stroke that we see in women with diabetes than in similarly affected men,’ she added.

The opinions expressed in this article do not necessarily reflect the views of the Community and should not be interpreted as medical advice. Please see your doctor before making any changes to your diabetes management plan.

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