Diabetes and the female disadvantage

Womens Health (Lond). 2015 Nov;11(6):833-9. doi: 10.2217/whe.15.67. Epub 2015 Sep 14.


We have produced compelling evidence that women are subject to a higher relative increase in their risk of coronary heart disease and stroke following a diagnosis of Type 2 diabetes. Thus, in terms of vascular risk, diabetes confers a female disadvantage. This excess risk could be due to three main factors. First, it is conceivable that this is merely a mathematical artifact caused by the relatively low background rate for cardiovascular diseases among women, compared with men. Second, it could be due to women receiving poorer care following their diagnosis of diabetes than men; for instance, due to physician bias. Third, certain underlying biological differences in women and men, most likely related to the distribution of body fat, could explain this female disadvantage.

Keywords: coronary heart disease; diabetes; stroke; women.

MeSH terms

  • Cardiovascular Diseases / epidemiology
  • Cardiovascular Diseases / etiology*
  • Diabetes Mellitus, Type 2 / complications*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Risk Assessment / methods
  • Risk Factors
  • Sex Factors
  • Stroke / epidemiology
  • Stroke / etiology*