Objective: To measure the risk factors and treatment profile of diabetes patients treated in primary health care (PHC) in order to evaluate potential gender differences.
Design: Cross-sectional survey of consecutive diabetes patients.
Setting: 229 PHC centres in Sweden.
Subjects: 5082 men and 4293 women with diabetes were investigated (1998-2001).
Main outcome measures: Glycaemic control (HbA1c), blood pressure, lipid levels, prevalence of left ventricular hypertrophy and microalbuminuria. Proportions of patients with previous ischaemic heart disease (IHD) and specific drug treatment.
Results: Male patients generally had better blood pressure ( < 140 and/or 85 mmHg) and glycaemic (HbA1c < 6.5%) control than corresponding female patients (44% and 59%, versus 40% and 54% in the 60-75 year age group; p < 0.01). Females showed higher levels of total (p < 0.01) and HDL cholesterol (p < 0.05) than males in all age groups. No gender difference was detected for LDL cholesterol levels in the younger or elderly patients, but in the age group 60-75 years female patients had significantly higher mean LDL cholesterol level than male patients (3.3 vs 3.2 mmol/L; p < 0.05). Previously known manifestations of IHD were more common (p < 0.01) in male patients.
Conclusion: Elderly male patients with diabetes had a more favourable risk factor control than corresponding female patients.