Women with type 1 diabetes have a much higher risk of death than men with the same condition, a new study has found.
According to the findings, women with type 1 diabetes have an almost 40% increased risk of death from all causes compared with men, and are also twice as likely to die from heart disease.
"We know that people with type 1 diabetes have shorter life expectancies than the general population, from both acute and long-term diabetic complications. But until now, it was not clear whether this excess risk of mortality was the same in women and men with the disease," noted the study's lead author, Prof Rachel Huxley, of the University of Queensland in Australia.
The researchers carried out a major analysis of all the studies between 1966 and 2014 that investigated gender-specific mortality rates among people with type 1 diabetes. This analysis involved more than 214,000 people.
The study found that women had a 37% increased risk of dying from all causes compared with men, and women had almost twice the risk of dying from cardiovascular disease. They also had a 44% increased risk of dying from kidney disease.
Women with type 1 diabetes also had a 37% increased risk of suffering a stroke when compared to men with the condition.
However type 1 diabetes did not appear to increase the risk of death from cancer in either women or men.
"On average, women live longer than men. But our findings show that in women with type 1 diabetes this ‘female protection' seems to be lost and excess deaths in women with type 1 diabetes are higher than in men with the disease," Prof Huxley noted.
The researchers suggested that poorer glycaemic control and difficulties with insulin management could play a role as these are more common in women.
Details of these findings are published in the journal, The Lancet Diabetes & Endocrinology.
According to Diabetes Ireland, around 19,000 Irish people have type 1 diabetes. For more information on the condition, click here