The findings published in Diabetologia (the journal of the European Association for the Study of Diabetes [EASD]) highlights the need for further sex-specific research into diabetes and how the condition can potentially contribute to heart complications.
According to the International Diabetes Federation (IDF), currently 415 million adults world-wide live with diabetes - with approximately 199 million of them being women. The IDF expects by the year 2040 around 313 million women will be suffering from the disease. Diabetes is the ninth leading cause of death in women and claims 2.1 million female lives every year, more so than men. The number one leading cause of death for women is heart disease.
"It is already known that diabetes puts you at greater risk of developing heart failure but what our study shows for the first time is that women are at far greater risk - for both type 1 and type 2 diabetes," said lead author and research fellow Dr Toshiaki Ohkuma from The George Institute.
"The increased risk of heart failure following a diabetes diagnosis is significantly greater in women than men which highlights the importance of intensive prevention and treatment of diabetes in women. Further research is required to understand the mechanisms underpinning the excess risk of heart failure conferred by diabetes [particularly type 1] in women and to reduce the burden associated with diabetes in both sexes."
- Women with type 1 diabetes were associated with a more than 5-fold increased risk of heart failure compared with those without diabetes. For men, the risk was 3.5-fold higher.
- Corresponding increases in risks for heart failure associated with type 2 diabetes were 95% in women and 74% in men.
- Researchers also found that both type 1 and type 2 diabetes were stronger risk factors for heart failure in women than men.
- Type 1 diabetes was associated with a 47% greater excess risk of heart failure in women compared with men.
- Type 2 diabetes was associated with a 9% greater excess risk of heart failure in women than men.
- Data compiled from 10 countries: Australia, US, UK, Italy, Sweden, Canada, Japan, China, Taiwan and Korea.