Diabetes and Women

Diabetes and Women 

  • Almost half of diabetes deaths occur in people under the age of 70 years; 55% of diabetes deaths are in women. Diabetes poses a greater risk of heart disease to women, so much so that men and women with diabetes have similar rates of heart attack.
  • Compared to people without diabetes, women with diabetes have a 5-fold higher risk of  cardiovascular disease (CVD) compared to 3-fold higher risk in men. 1-5
  • Diabetic women with and without heart disease have 3- to 4-fold higher risk of dying from CVD and other causes compared to women without diabetes.1-4
  • Children of under- or over-nourished mothers are at higher risk of diabetes later in life. This suggests that diabetes may be triggered by events in the uterus (womb). Diabetes in a household, places additional burdens on girls and women.6
  • Diabetes is a neglected cause of maternal mortality: Diabetes in pregnancy increases the risk of morbidity and mortality for both the mother and infant.
  • Women who have had gestational diabetes, recurrent miscarriages, pregnancy induced hypertension or preeclampsia, have a higher risk of having a heart attack at a younger age than those who have not.7


1. Meisinger C, Heier M, von Scheidt W, Kirchberger I, Hormann A, Kuch B. Gender-Specific short and long-term mortality in diabetic versus nondiabetic patients with incident acute myocardial infarction in the reperfusion era (the MONICA/KORA Myocardial Infarction Registry). Am J Cardiol. Dec 15 2010;106(12):1680-1684.

2. Donahue R P, Goldberg RJ, Chen Z, Gore JM, Alpert JS. The influence of sex and diabetes mellitus on survival following acute myocardial infarction: a community-wide perspective. J Clin Epidemiol. Mar 1993;46(3):245-252.

3. Abbott R D, Donahue RP, Kannel WB, Wilson PW. The impact of diabetes on survival following myocardial infarction in men vs women. The Framingham Study. JAMA. Dec 16 1988;260(23):3456-3460.

4. Benderly M, Behar S, Reicher-Reiss H, Boyko V, Goldbourt U. Long-term prognosis of women after myocardial infarction. SPRINT Study Group. Secondary Prevention Reinfarction Israeli Nifedipine Trial. Am J Epidemiol. Jul 15 1997;146(2):153-160.

5. Catapano AL, Reiner Z, De Backer G, et al. ESC/EAS Guidelines for the management of dyslipidaemias The Task Force for the management of dyslipidaemias of the European Society of Cardiology (ESC) and the European Atherosclerosis Society (EAS). Atherosclerosis. Jul 2011;217 Suppl 1:1-44.

6. http://www.idf.org/webdata/Call-to-Action-on-Diabetes.pdf. 2010 November. Accessed January 15,2011.

7. Mosca L, Benjamin EJ, Berra K, et al. Effectiveness-based guidelines for the prevention of cardiovascular disease in women-2011 update a guideline from the american heart association. J Am Coll Cardiol. Mar 22 2011;57(12):1404-1423.

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