Lead study author Rita Rastogi Kalyani, M.D., M.H.S., endocrinologist at the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine, said that their findings suggest that we need to work harder to prevent heart disease in women under 60 who have diabetes.
She said that this study tells us that women of any age who have diabetes are at a high risk for coronary artery disease.
For the research, she and her colleagues analyzed data from more than 10,000 participants in three widely regarded studies: the GeneSTAR Research Program, the Multi-Ethnic Study of Atherosclerosis and the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES) III.
None of the participants had a history of heart disease. All three studies yielded similar gender differences in rates of diabetes and the risk of developing heart disease.
Interestingly, in both women and men, these findings were unrelated to differences in obesity and other traditional cardiovascular risk factors such as high blood pressure, cholesterol and smoking.
The study has been published in the journal Diabetes Care.