and Medicine for Seniors
Less Successful Than Men at Reaching Diabetic Treatment Goals
wants gender-based treatment; failure of women to lower LDL cholesterol
means more risk for cardiovascular death
24, 2014 – A study of senior men and women with Type 2 diabetes, who
were fighting to lower their cholesterol with statins, has found that
women are much less likely to lower their bad cholesterol, or
low-density lipoprotein (LDL) cholesterol. The research leader is
calling for gender-based treatment to lower the risk of cardiovascular
death in women.
With treatment, only 64 per cent of
women lowered their LDL cholesterol to the recommended level compared
with 81 per cent of men, the investigators reported.
“The findings suggest the need for
gender-based evaluation and treatment of cardiovascular risk factors in
these patients,” says Dr. Pendar Farahani.
“We need further study into the
gender disparities to tailor drug interventions and we need to increase
the inclusion of women in clinical trials.”
Dr. Farahani is an assistant
professor in the Department of Medicine and Department of Public Health
Sciences at Queen’s University in Kingston, Ontario, Canada.
This study demonstrated women with diabetes are
more likely than men to have a LDL-C above treatment goals, according to
the study. However, this pattern of gender gap was not observed for
HgbA1c goal attainment. It did conclude that the concept of gender gap
is useful for identifying at-risk groups for prevention and treatment
Research has also shown women have poorer adherence
to taking their statin medication to treat high cholesterol, perhaps due
to somewhat dissimilar pharmacological properties in a woman’s body than
a man’s. For example, women often have more side effects such as muscle
pain, explains Dr. Farahani.
“The finding that women were not
able to lower their so-called bad cholesterol sufficiently is a
concern,” he says. “Women with diabetes have a considerably higher rate
of cardiovascular-related illness and death than men with diabetes. This
pattern is likely related to poorer control of cardiovascular risk
Dr. Farahani’s research also
discovered access to medication is not responsible for this difference.
All patients, who were in a database from pharmacies in four Canadian
provinces, had social insurance and were able to afford their
To evaluate whether biological sex
influenced the results of cholesterol-lowering drug treatment, Dr.
Farahani included nearly equal numbers of men and women (101 and 97) in
The average age of participants was
65 years for men and 63 years for women. All patients had Type 2
diabetes and had filled prescriptions for statin medication to treat
high cholesterol between 2003 and 2004.
The results were presented on
Saturday at the joint meeting of the International Society of
Endocrinology and The Endocrine Society:
ICE/ENDO 2014 in Chicago.
Original report by Anne Craig,
Communications Officer, Queen’s University