Diabetes and Heart Disease in Women
Dr. Rodriguez-Oquendo’s area of expertise is endocrinology.
Cardiovascular risk can occur earlier in women with diabetes
Among both men and women, diabetes is one of the strongest cardiovascular risk factors. Epidemiological studies have shown that people with diabetes have more than two times the chance of getting cardiovascular disease than people without diabetes. This includes premenopausal women, a group normally at lower risk for cardiovascular disease.
“Men generally have heart disease in their 40’s and 50’s, about a decade before women. But this is generally not true for diabetic women,” says Dr. Annabelle Rodriguez-Oquendo, Associate Professor of Medicine and Diabetes Management Service Director at Johns Hopkins Bayview Medical Center. “For diabetic women, the cardiovascular risk occurs earlier. Diabetes takes away much of the protection premenopausal women would normally get from estrogen.”
How diabetes raises risk for heart disease
The concentration of blood glucose or blood sugar, and how much it sticks to red blood cells and impedes the flow of oxygen in the blood, plays a large role in cardiovascular risk. An important measurement of sugar in the blood over a three-month period is the hemoglobin A1C test.
Hemoglobin is just one of the proteins that transport oxygen in the blood. Diabetes is a disease that impacts large blood vessels (such as the coronary arteries) and small vessels (such as arteries that carry blood to nerve endings and kidneys). Diabetes can affect the cardiovascular system by:
Attaching glucose to (glycosylating) blood proteins Continue reading