Gender differences in composite control of cardiovascular risk factors among patients with type 2 diabetes

Joni L Strom Williams, Cheryl P Lynch, Rhonda Winchester, Leslie Thomas, Brad Keith, Leonard E Egede
Diabetes Technology & Therapeutics 2014, 16 (7): 421-7

OBJECTIVE: Disparities in outcomes for cardiovascular disease (CVD) exist between men and women with type 2 diabetes mellitus (T2DM). We examined gender differences in composite control of cardiovascular risk factors in a sample of adults with T2DM.

SUBJECTS AND METHODS: This was a cross-sectional study of 680 people recruited from three primary care settings. Primary outcomes were individual and composite control of CVD risk factors. Control of individual risk outcomes was defined as glycosylated hemoglobin A1c (HbA1c) level of <7%, blood pressure (BP) of <130/80 mm Hg, and low-density lipoprotein (LDL) cholesterol level of <100 mg/dL. Composite control was defined as having all three outcomes under control simultaneously. Linear and logistic regression models were used to assess differences in individual means and individual and composite outcomes control between men and women, while adjusting for relevant covariates.

RESULTS: Men made up 56% of the sample, approximately 67% were non-Hispanic black, and 78% made less than $35,000 annually. Unadjusted mean systolic BP (134 mm Hg vs. 130 mm Hg, P=0.005) and LDL cholesterol (99.7 mg/dL vs. 87.6 mg/dL, P<0.001) levels were significantly higher in women than in men. Adjusted linear regression showed mean diastolic BP (β=3.09; 95% confidence interval 0.56, 5.63) was significantly higher in women. Overall, 12.4% of the sample had composite control, and women had poorer composite control compared with men (5.9% vs. 17.3%). Adjusted logistic models showed that men were significantly more likely to have composite risk factor control (odds ratio 2.90; 95% confidence interval 1.37, 6.13) compared with women.

CONCLUSIONS: In this sample of adults with T2DM, women had significantly lower composite control compared with men, when adjusting for relevant confounders. It is imperative that women are informed about CVD risk factors, educated on how to reduce them, and aggressively treated to avoid adverse outcomes. Additional research involving women is needed to explore and reduce disparities in CVD risk between men and women with T2DM.

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