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Diabetes and Endocrinology - Geriatrics - Public Health and Epidemiology - Women's Health

Mortality Associated with Diabetes and Cardiovascular Disease in Older Women
Published: Wednesday, November 07, 2012
Author: David Nanchen et al.

by David Nanchen, Nicolas Rodondi, Jacques Cornuz, Teresa Hillier, Kristine E. Ensrud, Jane A. Cauley, Douglas C. Bauer, Study of Osteoporotic Fractures Research Group


Current guidelines for the prevention of cardiovascular disease (CVD) recommend diabetes as a CVD risk equivalent. However, reports that have examined the risk of diabetes in comparison to pre-existing CVD are lacking among older women. We aimed to assess whether diabetes was associated with a similar risk of total and cause-specific mortality as a history of CVD in older women.

Methodology/Principal Findings

We studied 9218 women aged 68 years or older enrolled in a prospective cohort study (Study of Osteoporotic Fracture) during a mean follow-up period of 11.7 years and compared all-cause, cardiovascular and coronary heart disease mortality among 4 groups: non-diabetic women with and without existing CVD, diabetic women with and without existing CVD. Mean (SD) age of the participants was 75.2 (5.3) years, 3.5% reported diabetes and 6.8% reported existing CVD. During follow-up, 5117 women died with 36% from CVD. The multivariate adjusted risk of cardiovascular mortality was increased among both non-diabetic women with CVD (hazard ratio (HR) 2.32, 95% CI: 1.97–2.74, P<0.001) and diabetic women without CVD (HR 2.06, CI: 1.62–2.64, P<0.001) compared to non-diabetic women without existing CVD. All-cause, cardiovascular and coronary mortality of non-diabetic women with CVD were not significantly different from diabetic women without CVD.


Older diabetic women without CVD have a similar risk of cardiovascular mortality compared to non-diabetic women with pre-existing CVD. The equivalence of diabetes and CVD seems to extend to older women, supporting current guidelines for cardiovascular prevention.