Study identifies increased risk of stroke among diabetic women

by Barbara Hewitt on February 26, 2014

A new study has found that diabetes may increase the risk of suffering a stroke in women but not in men, adding to the body of evidence already suggesting a link.

The latest study, led by a team from the Pennington Biomedical Research Centre in the United States, could create an argument for all women with diabetes, especially those aged over 55, to get their risk factor for heart disease screened.

brain diabetes

Research shows that depending on blood sugar control, women with diabetes were 19 to 42% more likely to suffer a stroke than those without diabetes

According to background information in the study, women living in developed countries are more likely to die from a stroke than their male peers. In the United States, women accounted for nearly 60% of stroke deaths in 2010, the study authors said.

The research team analysed data gathered from almost 11,000 men and more than 19,000 women. During an average follow up of almost seven years, nearly 3,000 cases of stroke occurred among the participants.

Depending on their blood sugar control, women with diabetes were 19 to 42% more likely to suffer a stroke than those without diabetes. The researchers also found that risk of stroke among women with diabetes was much higher for those aged 55 and older, compared to younger women.

No association between diabetes and stroke risk was found in men. One reason could be that women with diabetes tend to have more concurrent conditions such as high cholesterol levels or high blood pressure, compared to diabetic men.

‘Diabetes poses a substantially greater increase in the risk of stroke among women than among men, which merits further investigation,’ the researchers said.

They also pointed out that the best way to manage stroke is through prevention. ‘More aggressive blood sugar treatments and better control of other risk factor levels in women with diabetes are likely to substantially reduce stroke in this subgroup,’ said Hu.


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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