The Heart of the Matter: Women with Diabetes are More at Risk


By: Kristin Lund

A large Kaiser Permanente study, published this month in Diabetes Care, has found that women with diabetes are 26 percent more likely to develop the very rapid and irregular heartbeat known as atrial fibrillation (AF) than women without diabetes. Although not a killer on its own, AF is a serious condition that requires medical treatment and can cause complications. In addition to fatigue, the poor circulation that results from AF can lead to blood pooling and clotting, ultimately causing a stroke.

The seven-year Kaiser Permanente study used an unprecedented number of patients (almost 35,000 patients, half with diabetes and half without) and was controlled for factors such as obesity, high blood pressure, and age. The researchers found that although men with diabetes are also at higher risk of AF than those without diabetes, the link between AF and diabetes is not as profound as it is in women. The study’s lead investigator, Greg Nichols, PhD, said in a press release that “obesity and high blood pressure are still the bigger risk factors for men with diabetes.”

Nearly 2.2 million people in the United States have AF, and many more go undiagnosed. The study authors pointed out that given the prevalence of AF and the rising numbers of people with diabetes, close attention should be paid to the link between the two conditions, especially in women. If more studies demonstrate a gender difference in the disease, perhaps one day men and women with diabetes will be treated differently by healthcare providers.

You might also enjoy Hope for Healthy Hearts, Women Have the Power to Lessen Risk

* * *

Source: Kaiser Permanente, Mayo Clinic



Diabetes Health Medical Disclaimer
The information on this site is not intended or implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. All content, including text, graphics, images, and information, contained on or available through this website is for general information purposes only. Opinions expressed here are the opinions of writers, contributors, and commentators, and are not necessarily those of Diabetes Health. Never disregard professional medical advice or delay seeking medical treatment because of something you have read on or accessed through this website.