Gender differences and patterns of cardiovascular risk factors in Type 1 and Type 2 diabetes: a population-based analysis from a Scottish region

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To explore the gender differences, along with the relationships between BMI, glycaemic control, cardiovascular risk factors and the prevalence of diabetes complications, in a representative population-based group of people with Type 1 and Type 2 diabetes.


Data were obtained from general practices in Ayrshire and Arran, Scotland for 15 351 patients.


In the cohort with Type 1 diabetes, after adjustment for age, men had a significantly lower BMI (P = 0.007) and significantly lower total cholesterol (P = 0.005), HDL-cholesterol (P = 2.5*10-17) and HbA1c levels (P = 0.003) than women. By contrast, men had higher blood pressure, both systolic (P = 0.034) and diastolic (P = 0.0003), and higher non-fasting triglyceride levels (P = 0.001). Men with Type 1 diabetes had a higher prevalence of neuropathy (P = 0.021). Among people with Type 2 diabetes, men had a significantly lower BMI (P = 4.26*10-37), and significantly lower total cholesterol (P = 2.96*10-62) and HDL-cholesterol levels (P = 8.25*10-141) but higher non-fasting triglyceride levels (P = 0.0002). In Type 2 diabetes, men had a higher prevalence of ischaemic heart disease (P = 1.66*10-25), stroke (P = 0.002) and peripheral vascular disease (P = 1.68*10-12), while women were older (P = 4.83*10-23), heavier and had a higher prevalence of hypertension (P = 5.32*10-12). More people with Type 2 diabetes were on lipid-lowering treatment (84.7 vs 52.4%; P = 5.51*10-8) than were those with Type 1 diabetes. The prevalence of retinopathy was higher among non-smokers thank smokers in people with both Type 1 and Type 2 diabetes (Type 1, P = 0.016; Type 2, P = 0.001).


The study shows gender differences between Type 1 and 2 diabetes that are of clinical significance and require further investigation. Follow-up of the patients included in the present study should give us much greater understanding of the importance of gender in the development of metabolic abnormalities and diabetes complications.

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