Sex differences in vascular stiffness and relationship to the risk of renal functional decline in patients with type 2 diabetes

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Background:Recent data suggest that the higher risk of end-stage renal disease in women compared with men is associated with waist circumference. We investigated whether vascular stiffness which is linked to visceral fat accumulation is gender specific and associated with a loss in renal function.Methods:We studied 166 patients with type 2 diabetes at high risk of progressive renal disease. A vascular stiffness index was derived from measurement of the peripheral arterial pulse waveform using infrared finger photoplethysmography. Multiple regression analysis was used to examine the relationship between vascular stiffness and traditional clinical and biochemical renal disease risk factors.Results:Women were of similar mean (standard deviation) age [61.6 (6.8) vs 60.0 (8.3) years; p = 0.444] and duration of diabetes [9.8 (7.2) vs 10.9 (8.1) years; p = 0.885] compared to men. Waist circumference was significantly associated with vascular stiffness [regression coefficient B = 0.15 (95% confidence interval: 0.06–2.24); p = 0.001]. There was a negative slope parameter for the relationship between glomerular filtration rate and vascular stiffness [B = −0.15 (95% confidence interval: −0.22 to −0.09); p < 0.001] in women only.Conclusion:In this cohort, early renal functional decline in women is linked to increased vascular stiffness which may be associated with visceral fat accumulation as determined by waist circumference.

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