Women With Diabetes Are at Increased Relative Risk of Heart Failure Compared to Men: Insights From UK Biobank

Sucharitha Chadalavada, Magnus T Jensen, Nay Aung, Jackie Cooper, Karim Lekadir, Patricia B Munroe, Steffen E Petersen


Aims: To investigate the effect of diabetes on mortality and incident heart failure (HF) according to sex, in the low risk population of UK Biobank. To evaluate potential contributing factors for any differences seen in HF end-point. Methods: The entire UK Biobank study population were included. Participants that withdrew consent or were diagnosed with diabetes after enrolment were excluded from the study. Univariate and multivariate cox regression models were used to assess endpoints of mortality and incident HF, with median follow-up periods of 9 years and 8 years respectively. Results: A total of 493,167 participants were included, hereof 22,685 with diabetes (4.6%). Two thousand four hundred fifty four died and 1,223 were diagnosed or admitted with HF during the follow up periods of 9 and 8 years respectively. Overall, the mortality and HF risk were almost doubled in those with diabetes compared to those without diabetes (hazard ratio (HR) of 1.9 for both mortality and heart failure) in the UK Biobank population. Women with diabetes (both types) experience a 22% increased risk of HF compared to men (HR of 2.2 (95% CI: 1.9-2.5) vs. 1.8 (1.7-2.0) respectively). Women with type 1 diabetes (T1DM) were associated with 88% increased risk of HF compared to men (HR 4.7 (3.6-6.2) vs. 2.5 (2.0-3.0) respectively), while the risk of HF for type 2 diabetes (T2DM) was 17% higher in women compared to men (2.0 (1.7-2.3) vs. 1.7 (1.6-1.9) respectively). The increased risk of HF in women was independent of confounding factors. The findings were similar in a model with all-cause mortality as a competing risk. This interaction between sex, diabetes and outcome of HF is much more prominent for T1DM (p = 0.0001) than T2DM (p = 0.1). Conclusion: Women with diabetes, particularly those with T1DM, experience a greater increase in risk of heart failure compared to men with diabetes, which cannot be explained by the increased prevalence of cardiac risk factors in this cohort.

Original languageEnglish
Article number658726
JournalFrontiers in Cardiovascular Medicine
Pages (from-to)1-16
Number of pages16
Publication statusPublished - 6 Apr 2021


  • diabetes
  • heart failure
  • sex
  • prospective
  • UK biobank
  • epidemiology
  • cardiovascular
  • prognosis


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