Importance: The lower risk of cardiovascular disease (CVD) among women compared with men in the general population may be diminished among those with diabetes.
Objective: To evaluate cardiometabolic risk factors and their management in association with CVD events in women vs men with type 1 diabetes enrolled in the Diabetes Control and Complications Trial/Epidemiology of Diabetes Interventions and Complications (DCCT/EDIC) study.
Design, setting, and participants: This cohort study used data obtained during the combined DCCT (randomized clinical trial, conducted 1983-1993) and EDIC (observational study, conducted 1994 to present) studies through April 30, 2018 (mean [SD] follow-up, 28.8 [5.8] years), at 27 clinical centers in the US and Canada. Data analyses were performed between July 2021 and April 2022.
Exposure: During the DCCT phase, patients were randomized to intensive vs conventional diabetes therapy.
Main outcomes and measures: Cardiometabolic risk factors and CVD events were assessed via detailed medical history and focused physical examinations. Blood and urine samples were assayed centrally. CVD events were adjudicated by a review committee. Linear mixed models and Cox proportional hazards models evaluated sex differences in cardiometabolic risk factors and CVD risk over follow-up.
Results: A total of 1441 participants with type 1 diabetes (mean [SD] age at DCCT baseline, 26.8 [7.1] years; 761 [52.8%] men; 1390 [96.5%] non-Hispanic White) were included. Over the duration of the study, compared with men, women had significantly lower body mass index (BMI, calculated as weight in kilograms divided by height in meters squared; β = -0.43 [SE, 0.16]; P = .006), waist circumference (β = -10.56 cm [SE, 0.52 cm]; P < .001), blood pressure (systolic: β = -5.77 mm Hg [SE, 0.35 mm Hg]; P < .001; diastolic: β = -3.23 mm Hg [SE, 0.26 mm Hg]; P < .001), and triglyceride levels (β = -10.10 mg/dL [SE, 1.98 mg/dL]; P < .001); higher HDL cholesterol levels (β = 9.36 mg/dL [SE, 0.57 mg/dL]; P < .001); and similar LDL cholesterol levels (β = -0.76 mg/dL [SE, 1.22 mg/dL]; P = .53). Women, compared with men, achieved recommended targets more frequently for blood pressure (ie, <130/80 mm Hg: 90.0% vs 77.4%; P < .001) and triglycerides (ie, <150 mg/dL: 97.3% vs 90.5%; P < .001). However, sex-specific HDL cholesterol targets (ie, ≥50 mg/dL for women, ≥40 mg/dL for men) were achieved less often (74.3% vs 86.6%; P < .001) and cardioprotective medications were used less frequently in women than men (ie, angiotensin-converting enzyme inhibitor or angiotensin II receptor blocker: 29.6% [95% CI, 25.7%-33.9%] vs 40.0% [95% CI, 36.1%-44.0%]; P = .001; lipid-lowering medication: 25.3% [95% CI, 22.1%-28.7%] vs 39.6% [95% CI, 36.1%-43.2%]; P < .001). Women also had significantly higher pulse rates (mean [SD], 75.2 [6.8] beats per minute vs 71.8 [6.9] beats per minute; P < .001) and hemoglobin A1c levels (mean [SD], 8.3% [1.0%] vs 8.1% [1.0%]; P = .01) and achieved targets for tighter glycemic control less often than men (ie, hemoglobin A1c <7%: 11.2% [95% CI, 9.3%-13.3%] vs 14.0% [95% CI, 12.0%-16.3%]; P = .03).
Conclusions and relevance: These findings suggest that despite a more favorable cardiometabolic risk factor profile, women with type 1 diabetes did not have a significantly lower CVD event burden than men, suggesting a greater clinical impact of cardiometabolic risk factors in women vs men with diabetes. These findings call for conscientious optimization of the control of CVD risk factors in women with type 1 diabetes.