A new study has found that type 2 diabetes raises the risk of cardiovascular disease in younger women, independently of other CVD risk factors.
Researchers in Argentina examined 1,256 premenopausal and menopausal women aged 19 to 84. Participants were divided into two groups – those with type 2 diabetes and those without the condition – and both groups underwent ultrasound imaging to measure plaque in their carotid arteries, the major artery running down the neck.
The build-up of plaque in the arteries – the main cause of heart disease – was found to be more common among the 293 women with type 2 diabetes compared with the 963 non-diabetic participants. This was regardless of age, family history of CVD, hypertension (High Blood Pressure), menopausal status or smoking history.
“These data indicate that [women with diabetes] in premenopausal or first years of menopausal age (40-50 years) are at intermediate or high risk to develop a cardiovascular event while non-diabetic women reach this … risk after age 50,” the researchers wrote.
Nestor Garcia, investigator from Blossom DMO in Cordoba, Argentina, and CONICET, an Argentine government agency in Buenos Aires, commented: “To reduce the risk of heart attacks, we recommend screening women with type 2 diabetes at younger ages, even if they don’t have other known risk for heart disease.”
The researchers added that while the study indicated an independent connection between type 2 diabetes and heart disease in women, it did not prove a cause-and-effect relationship.
The preliminary findings were presented yesterday at the American Heart Association’s high blood pressure Research 2013 Scientific Sessions in New Orleans.

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