Levels of LDL cholesterol are more likely to be worse among women with type 2 diabetes than men, a research article suggests.
What is LDL cholesterol?
LDL (low density lipoprotein) is a protein that transports cholesterol through the blood. It is often referred to as “bad cholesterol” as the risk of a heart attack can be increased when this builds up significantly.
LDL cholesterol was investigated by Giuseppina Russo, MD and colleagues from University of Messina, Italy. They evaluated data from 412,299 patients with type 2 diabetes who attended diabetes clinics in 2009.
The researchers identified through analysis of lipid profiles that higher mean total cholesterol was found in women.
Increased LDL cholesterol was associated with age and the length of time participants had type 2 diabetes. Women also showed higher HbA1c levels.
Research theories
A number of theories were suggested by the research team as to why there were increased LDL levels in women.
This could be due to social barriers in understanding women’s risk of cardiovascular disease compared to men, women being less adherent to treatments or men generally receiving a better quality of care.
Sex-specific differences to drugs could also explain a women’s higher risk for having worse lipid profiles.
“Healthcare professionals should advise women with [type 2 diabetes] about their potential CVD risk, and should not give priority only on treating hyperglycemia and diabetes-related symptoms,” the researchers concluded.
The results of this study were published in the International Journal of Endocrinology.

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