'Diabetes clock' ticks for women

Woman and Doctor

The “diabetes clock” may start ticking in women years in advance of a medical diagnosis of the disease, new research has shown.

UB epidemiologists have found that newly identified risk factors for diabetes found in the blood, such as markers of endothelial dysfunction, chronic subacute inflammation and blood clotting factors, are present early on in women who eventually progress from normal glucose status to the prediabetic condition. Results of the study appeared in the February 2007 issue of Diabetes Care.

“This is one of the first reports to show that otherwise healthy women are more likely than men to show elevated levels of endothelial factors and other markers of progression to prediabetes,” says lead author Richard Donahue, professor of social and preventive medicine and associate dean for research in the School of Public Health and Health Professions.

“Because these prediabetic markers are not routinely assessed, and because diabetes is strongly linked with coronary heart disease, the study may help explain why the decline in death rates for heart disease in diabetic women lags behind that of diabetic men,” he says.

The research was supported by a grant from the National Institutes of Health.