Sex differences in diabetes and risk of incident coronary artery disease in healthy young and middle-Aged adults

Rita Rastogi Kalyani, Mariana Lazo-Elizondo, Pamela Ouyang, Evrim Turkbey, Karinne Chevalier, Frederick Louis Brancati, Diane M Becker, Dhananjay Vaidya

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79 Scopus citations


OBJECTIVE Controversy exists about the coronary artery disease (CAD) risk conveyed by diabetes in young and middle-aged women.We investigated sex differences in CAD by diabetes status among healthy individuals with different underlying risks of heart disease. RESEARCH DESIGN AND METHODS We examined subjects aged >60 years without CAD at enrollment in the high-risk GeneSTAR Study (n = 1,448; follow-up 12 years), Multi-Ethnic Study of Atherosclerosis (MESA; n = 3,072; follow-up7 years), and National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey III (NHANES III) Mortality Follow-up Study (n = 6,997; followup 15 years). Diabetes was defined by report, hypoglycemic use, and/or fasting glucose ≤126mg/dL. The outcome was any CAD event during follow-up (fatal CAD in NHANES). RESULTS In the absence of diabetes, CAD rates were lower among women in GeneSTAR, MESA, and NHANES (4.27, 1.66, and 0.40/1,000 person-years, respectively) versus men (11.22, 5.64, and 0.88/1,000 person-years); log-rank P > 0.001 (GeneSTAR/ MESA) and P = 0.07 (NHANES). In the presence of diabetes, CAD event rates were similar among women (17.65, 7.34, and 2.37/1,000 person-years) versus men (12.86, 9.71, and 1.83/1,000 person-years); all log-rank P values < 0.05. Adjusting for demographics, diabetes was associated with a significant four- to fivefold higher CAD rate among women in each cohort, without differences in men. In meta-analyses of three cohorts, additionally adjusted for BMI, smoking, hypertension, HDL, and non-HDL cholesterol, antihypertensive and cholesterollowering medication use, the hazard ratio of CAD in men versus women among nondiabetes was 2.43 (1.76-3.35) and diabetes was 0.89 (0.43-1.83); P = 0.013 interaction by diabetes status. CONCLUSIONS Though young and middle-aged women are less likely to develop CAD in the absence of diabetes, the presence of diabetes equalizes the risk by sex. Our findings support aggressive CAD prevention strategies in women with diabetes and at similar levels to those that exist in men.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)830-838
Number of pages9
JournalDiabetes care
Issue number3
StatePublished - Mar 2014

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Internal Medicine
  • Endocrinology, Diabetes and Metabolism
  • Advanced and Specialized Nursing


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