Strategies for improving cardiovascular health in women with diabetes mellitus: a review of the evidence

Curr Diab Rep. 2015 Nov;15(11):98. doi: 10.1007/s11892-015-0665-7.


Knowledge about cardiovascular (CV) disease in women with diabetes mellitus (DM) has changed substantially over the past 20 years. Coronary artery disease, strokes, and peripheral vascular disease affect women with DM at higher rates than the general population of women. Lifestyle therapies, such as dietary changes, physical activity, and smoking cessation, offer substantial benefits to women with DM. Of the pharmacotherapies, statins offer the most significant benefits but may not be well tolerated in some women. Aspirin may also benefit high-risk women. Other pharmacotherapies, such as fibrates, ezetimibe, niacin, fish oil, and hormone replacement therapy, remain unproven and, in some cases, potentially dangerous to women with DM. To reduce CV events, risks to women with DM must be better publicized and additional research must be done. Finally, advancements in health care delivery must target high-risk women with DM to lower risk factors and effectively improve cardiovascular health.

Keywords: Cardiovascular disease; Diabetes mellitus; Female; Gender; Myocardial infarction; Stroke.

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Cardiovascular Diseases / drug therapy
  • Cardiovascular Diseases / etiology*
  • Diabetes Complications*
  • Diabetes Mellitus* / drug therapy
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Risk Factors
  • Sex Characteristics
  • Stroke / drug therapy
  • Stroke / etiology