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Sex differences in the association between diabetes and risk of cardiovascular disease, cancer, and all-cause and cause-specific mortality: A systematic review and meta-analysis of 5,162,654 participants

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journal contribution
posted on 2019-01-01, 00:00 authored by Y Wang, Adrienne O'NeilAdrienne O'Neil, Y Jiao, L Wang, J Huang, Y Lan, Y Zhu, C Yu
Background: Studies have suggested sex differences in the mortality rate associated with diabetes. We conducted a meta-analysis to estimate the relative effect of diabetes on the risk of all-cause, cancer, cardiovascular disease (CVD), infectious disease, and respiratory disease mortality in women compared with men. Methods: Studies published from their inception to April 1, 2018, identified through a systematic search of PubMed and EMBASE and review of references. We used the sex-specific RRs to derive the women-to-men ratio of RRs (RRR) and 95% CIs from each study. Subsequently, the RRR for each outcome was pooled with random-effects meta-analysis weighted by the inverse of the variances of the log RRRs. Results: Forty-nine studies with 86 prospective cohorts met the inclusion criteria and were eligible for analysis. The pooled women-to-men RRR showed a 13% greater risk of all-cause mortality associated with diabetes in women than in men (RRR 1.13, 95% CI 1.07 to 1.19; P < 0.001). The pooled multiple-adjusted RRR indicated a 30% significantly greater excess risk of CVD mortality in women with diabetes compared with men (RRR 1.30, 95% CI 1.13 to 1.49; P < 0.001). Compared with men with diabetes, women with diabetes had a 58% greater risk of coronary heart disease (CHD) mortality, but only an 8% greater risk of stroke mortality (RRRCHD 1.58, 95% CI 1.32 to 1.90; P < 0.001; RRRstroke 1.08, 95% CI 1.01 to 1.15; P < 0.001). However, no sex differences were observed in pooled results of populations with or without diabetes for all-cancer (RRR 1.02, 95% CI 0.98 to 1.06; P = 0.21), infectious (RRR 1.13, 95% CI 0.90 to 1.38; P = 0.33), and respiratory mortality (RRR 1.08, 95% CI 0.95 to 1.23; P = 0.26). Conclusions: Compared with men with the same condition, women with diabetes have a 58% and 13% greater risk of CHD and all-cause mortality, respectively, although there was a significant heterogeneity between studies. This points to an urgent need to develop sex- and gender-specific risk assessment strategies and therapeutic interventions that target diabetes management in the context of CHD prevention.



BMC Medicine



Article number



1 - 18




London, Eng.





Publication classification

C1 Refereed article in a scholarly journal