Gender differences in the control of cardiovascular risk factors in patients with type 2 diabetes -a cross-sectional study

Intern Med. 2012;51(2):161-6. doi: 10.2169/internalmedicine.51.6094. Epub 2012 Jan 15.


Objective: Trends in diabetes and cardiovascular mortality rates are considerably different between women and men; this can be partially explained by differences in diabetes control. The aim of this cross-sectional study was to assess whether sex differences exist in effective control of cardiovascular risk factors among persons with type 2 diabetes treated at the Vuk Vrhovac University Clinic in 2008.

Materials and methods: We performed a cross-sectional analysis including 8,775 patients who attended the clinic in 2008. Levels of HbA1c, systolic and diastolic blood pressure (SBP, DBP), LDL-cholesterol (LDL) and triglycerides (TG) were analyzed. Multiple adjusted odds-ratios were calculated for categories of cardiovascular risk factors considered not being in control (HbA1c ≥ 7%, SBP ≥ 130 mmHg, DBP ≥ 80 mmHg, LDL ≥ 2.5 mmol/L, TG ≥ 1.7 mmol/L).

Results: Women had higher levels of HbA1c (7.05 vs. 6.86%; p<0.001), despite the fact that a larger proportion of women were receiving insulin therapy than men (51.3% vs. 44%). Women also had higher mean values of SBP (144.7 vs. 141.9 mmHg; p<0.001) and LDL (2.92 vs. 2.84 mmol/L). There were no differences in DBP (86.1 vs. 86.0 mmHg; p=0.748) and only triglyceride levels were higher in men (2.04 vs. 1.94 mmol/L; p=0.003). In multi-adjusted logistic regression model female sex was associated with a higher odds ratio of having uncontrolled values of HbA1c (OR=1.21; 95%CI 1.11-1.32), SBP (OR=1.21; 95%CI 1.07-1.37) and LDL (OR=1.13; 95%CI 1.04-1.23).

Conclusion: Women with diabetes have poorer control of main potentially modifiable cardiovascular risk factors than men. This could contribute to disparities in trends in cardiovascular mortality and it demands clinicians' and public health awareness.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Aged
  • Cardiovascular Diseases / blood
  • Cardiovascular Diseases / etiology*
  • Cardiovascular Diseases / physiopathology*
  • Cross-Sectional Studies
  • Diabetes Mellitus, Type 2 / blood
  • Diabetes Mellitus, Type 2 / complications*
  • Diabetes Mellitus, Type 2 / physiopathology*
  • Female
  • Follow-Up Studies
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Risk Factors
  • Sex Factors*