A recent study adds to the body of evidence that diabetes may increase stroke risk in women but not in men. The research team analyzed medical data from approximately 11,000 males and 19,000 females. Nearly 3,000 cases of stroke occurred among the participants during the average follow-up period of 7 years. An association between blood sugar levels and stroke risk was observed among women, but not men.


The study found that, depending on their blood sugar control, women with diabetes were 19 to 42 percent more likely to have a stroke than participants without diabetes. In addition, the risk of stroke was significantly higher for women with diabetes age 55 and older than their younger counterparts.


But why wouldn’t diabetes raise stroke risk in men? The researchers believe there could be several factors including more aggressive blood sugar treatment for men and that women with diabetes tend to also have higher cholesterol and blood pressure levels.


Dr. Suzanne Steinbaum, director of women and heart disease at Lenox Hill Hospital in New York City, gives the following advice, “The best way to manage stroke is through prevention. ” She added, “For women, especially, where the link between elevated sugars and stroke is so clearly defined, and worse outcomes are more often seen, the emphasis needs to be on treating the risk factors and certainly implementing lifestyle options. All women, especially those over 55 years old, should get their risk factors for heart disease screened and aggressively treated.”


Do you or your loved one need help controlling blood sugar levels? Our aides can give you or your loved-ones greater opportunity for activity, help in preparing healthier meals, and provide medication reminders.  Call us if you or someone you care about could use more assistance around the home.


Source: Zhao W, Katzmarzyk P, Horswell R, et al. Sex differences in the risk of stroke and HbA1c among diabetic patients. Diabetologia, 2014; 57: 918-926.

Diabetes & Stroke


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