Women with diabetes more at risk of heart failure than men, study warns

Sabrina Barr

Women who have diabetes are at greater risk of experiencing heart failure than men with the same condition, a new study has warned.

According to research published in the journal of the European Association for the Study of Diabetes (EASD), women who have type 1 diabetes have a 47 per cent increased possibility of heart failure than men who have type 1 diabetes.

Furthermore, women who have type 2 diabetes have a nine per cent higher chance than men of heart failure, the findings showed.

The researchers gathered their data from 14 studies in total, which consisted of 47 cohorts and more than 12 million participants.

The team wrote in the study that the "prevalence of diabetes and heart failure is increasing", with an increased risk of heart failure being noted among people who have diabetes.

However, whether or not this correlation was the same for women and men was previously "unknown".

The scientists found that women with type 1 diabetes had a 5.15 higher chance of experiencing heart failure, while men with the same condition had a 3.47 increased risk.

Meanwhile, women with type 2 diabetes had a 1.95 times greater possibility of having heart failure, with men having a 1.74 times higher chance.

According to the study's authors, there a number of reasons why women with diabetes may be at greater risk than men of experiencing heart failure.

One of these reasons could be the fact that diabetes may put women at higher risk than men of developing coronary heart disease.

The researchers noted that an increased risk of coronary heart disease had previously been discovered among women.

Another possible reason includes the "undertreatment for women with diabetes", which could "subsequently lead to a stronger association of diabetes with heart failure in women than men".

"In conclusion, the excess risk of heart failure following diagnosis of diabetes is significantly greater in women than men, highlighting the importance of intensive prevention and treatment of diabetes for women as well as men," the authors wrote.

"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."

Heart failure occurs when the heart is unable to pump blood around the body sufficiently, the British Heart Foundation states.

It is a long-term condition, which gradually worsens over the time and for which there is no cure.

Symptoms of heart failure include experiencing shortness of breath, having swelling on the feet, ankles, stomach and lower back area, and feeling fatigued or weak.

For more information about heart failure, visit the British Heart Foundation website here.

For more information about diabetes, visit the Diabetes UK website here.