Coronary artery disease in IDDM: gender differences in risk factors, but not risk

Lloyd, Cathy E.; Kuller, Lewis H.; Ellis, Demetrius; Becker, Dorothy J.; Wing, Rena R. and Orchard, Trevor J. (1996). Coronary artery disease in IDDM: gender differences in risk factors, but not risk. Arteriosclerosis, Thrombosis, and Vascular Biology, 16 pp. 720–726.




Insulin-dependent diabetes mellitus (IDDM) increases the risk of developing coronary artery disease (CAD) compared with that seen in the general population, while the sex differential in rates of CAD is considerably reduced in IDDM populations. To further our understanding of these observations, the effects of gender on baseline risk factors for CAD incidence were examined. Participants in the Pittsburgh Epidemiology of Diabetes Complications (EDC) Study were recruited from the Children's Hospital of Pittsburgh IDDM registry and had been diagnosed between 1950 and 1980. Subjects completed a series of questionnaires and were given a full clinical examination at baseline (1986 through 1988) and every subsequent 2 years. This report is based on the first 4 years of follow-up. Similar incidence rates of new CAD events were observed in men and women. In neither sex was glycemic control a predictor of later CAD. Sex-specific Cox proportional hazards models showed that for men, duration of IDDM, HDL cholesterol, fibrinogen, hypertension, and smoking were all significantly associated with the onset of CAD. Hypertension, fibrinogen, and smoking were all replaced by nephropathy when this latter variable was added to the model. For women, duration, hypertension, waist-hip ratio, physical activity, and depressive symptomatology were all significant independent predictors of CAD. Nephropathy status did not enter the model for women. While 4-year incidence of CAD in IDDM varies little by sex in this population, the predictive risk factors vary considerably. In particular, the effect of renal disease was stronger in men, while the cluster of physical activity, waist-to-hip ratio, and depressive symptomatology were more important in women. These results may help explain the relatively greater impact IDDM has on CAD risk for women and suggest new potential preventive approaches.

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