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A newly published paper suggests that women who live with diabetes are at a greater risk for heart failure compared with men who live with the same. Even more alarming are findings that give a dire prognosis for women with type 1 diabetes – who have a 47% increased risk of heart failure compared with men. In sum, while all women with diabetes are at risk, women with type 1 diabetes have a more significantly higher risk for heart failure.

Women with type 2 diabetes were found to have a 9% increased risk compared with men, according to the paper. The reason for the difference in risk between women with type 1 and type 2 diabetes isn’t clear. However, the authors suspect that under-treatment of diabetes in women in the healthcare setting may play a role.

The link between diabetes and heart disease has been well established, but awareness and treatment remain problematic. It is under-communicated to patients in the medical community, and the general public may have little understanding of the association.

The review paper looked at 14 previously published studies that focused on the association between diabetes and heart failure risk. The studies had been published between 1966 and 2018. Study data included 12 million people and 253,260 cases of heart failure. After scrutinizing the data, researchers found that both type 1 and type 2 diabetes are stronger risk factors for heart failure in women than in men.

The link between diabetes and heart disease has been well established, but awareness and treatment remain problematic. It is under-communicated to patients and the general public may have little understanding of the association.

“Once women have diabetes, they have a much higher risk of heart failure than women without diabetes,” said Sanne Peters, a research fellow at the George Institute for Global Health at the University of Oxford in the United Kingdom, who was an author of the paper.

Heart failure occurs when your heart muscle doesn’t pump blood as well as it should. Certain conditions, such as narrowed arteries in your heart (coronary artery disease) or high blood pressure, gradually leave your heart too weak or stiff to fill and pump efficiently.

Women with diabetes need to pay close attention to their heart heath and doctors need to ensure women with diabetes are aware of the risks. Especially important measures are: not smoking, controlling cholesterol, taking prescribed statins, and managing blood pressure and blood glucose.


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