Australasian Science: Australia's authority on science since 1938

Diabetic Women Have Higher Stroke Risk

A review of more than 60 studies has shown that women with type 2 diabetes have a 27% higher risk of stroke than men with diabetes.

Professor Rachel Huxley of The University of Queensland said that the study was the first to reveal that the risk of diabetes-related stroke significantly differs in women and men. “Research has previously shown that diabetes confers a greater risk of having a heart attack in women than men, and now we have shown that this gender difference also extends to stroke,” Huxley said.

“We don’t yet understand why diabetes is more hazardous for women in determining their cardiovascular risk compared with men, but existing studies suggest that it may be linked to obesity,” Huxley said.

“Men tend to become diabetic at lower levels of body mass index compared with women. Consequently, by the time women develop diabetes and begin receiving intervention from a GP, their levels of other cardiovascular risk factors – including BMI – are higher than in men with diabetes who may have been picked up and treated at an earlier stage of the condition.

“It may be this chronic exposure to high levels of cardiovascular risk factors in the lead up to developing diabetes that may be responsible for the greater risk of stroke that we see in women with diabetes than in similarly affected men,” Huxley said.

The study was published in The Lancet.