After Cardiovascular Diseases, Diabetic Women are also at Greater Risk of Stroke

Diabetes mellitus is a chronic disease characterized by abnormally high glucose levels in the blood, it adversely affects body’s metabolism causing inordinate thirst and excessive urination. It is estimated that 382 million people are affected by diabetes in 2013, and that number is expected to be doubled by 2035.

There are two types of diabetes: (i) Type 1 diabetes [T1DM] (ii) Type 2 diabetes [T2DM]. The Type 1 diabetes, to a certain extent, is polygenic and is an autoimmune disorder in which immune system of a person attacks the pancreatic beta cells which produce insulin, a hormone that helps cells absorb glucose. The Type 2 diabetes happens when body cells no longer response to insulin and is primarily caused by a number of lifestyle factors. Although on the average both types are equally dangerous, the Type 2 diabetes pose an increased risk of cardiovascular failure in women as compared to men and now a new research shows it also increases the risk of stroke in women as compared to men.

The meta-analysis of diabetes at the University of Queensland reveals that women with Type 2 diabetes have 27% higher relative risk of stroke than diabetic men, taking other risk factors such as age and blood pressure into account. The review of 64 cohort studies, representing 775385 individuals resulted 12539 individuals (of which 27% are women) with strokes, both fatal and non-fatal.

Obesity is believed to be one possible reason why women are more susceptible to stroke. Men tend to become diabetic at lower levels of body mass index compared with women, and by the time women develop diabetes and begin treatment their levels of other cardiovascular risk factors – including BMI – are higher than in men with diabetes who may have been diagnosed and treated at an earlier stage of the disease.

Researcher Prof. Huxley believes that may be that chronic exposure to high levels of cardiovascular risk factors that come with developing diabetes might be responsible for the greater risk of stroke that in women with diabetes than in men with the same condition.

So women are advised to keep their weight in check and avoid inactive lifestyle, exercising everyday even if it just 30 minutes of walk. For now,  it is not clear why women are at higher risk but further researches are being carried out to reveal the cause and the mechanism of stroke susceptibility for diabetic women.

[Source: The University of Queensland]

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