Excess risk of heart failure in women versus men with T1D

November 4, 2019

People living with diabetes are predisposed to several different complications given their fluctuating glucose levels, which can lead to stress on their organs. When it comes to cardiovascular problems, the extra risk conferred by having type 1 diabetes (T1D) may be greater in women than men.

Heart failure is a common, but often underappreciated cardiovascular complication of T1D. According to a paper recently published in the European peer-reviewed scientific journal, Diabetologia, T1D was associated with a 47% increased excess risk of heart failure in women compared with men.

After reviewing 14 related studies published between January 1966 and November 2018 that included over 12 million people and 253,260 cases of heart failure, researchers noted that women with T1D or type 2 diabetes had a higher excess risk than men, although that presented by T1D was greater than type 2 diabetes (47% vs 9%).

Among several explanations is that diabetes confers a much better chance of developing coronary heart disease – a cause of heart failure – among females. In addition, some studies have found that women are undertreated for glycemic control or management of cardiovascular risk factors compared to men.

Further research is needed to explain the reason for the difference between the sexes, particularly since the data analyzed in this study were limited to what was found in the previously published studies and did not include information on the duration of each person’s diabetes.

Healthcare professionals recommend that all people with diabetes practice a healthy, active lifestyle wherever possible in order to lower their risk of cardiovascular complications including heart failure.

JDRF is committed to funding research that helps people with T1D live longer, healthier and safer lives until cures are found. The studies in this area strive to advance drugs and devices that improve glycemic control, reduce the risk of complications, and enhance mental health aspects of T1D.

For more information on JDRF-funded research that focuses on bettering lives, click here.

For more informative articles on health and type 1 diabetes, visit our JDRF Blog. 

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