Diabetes Metab J.  2021 Jul;45(4):492-501. 10.4093/dmj.2020.0262.

Management of Cardiovascular Risk in Perimenopausal Women with Diabetes

  • 1Departments of Medicine, Obstetrics & Gynecology, and Epidemiology, University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, MI, USA


Cardiovascular disease is the primary cause of mortality in women and men with diabetes. Due to age and worsening of risk factors over the menopausal transition, risk of coronary heart disease events increases in postmenopausal women with diabetes. Randomized studies have conflicted regarding the beneficial impact of estrogen therapy upon intermediate cardiovascular disease markers and events. Therefore, estrogen therapy is not currently recommended for indications other than symptom management. However, for women at low risk of adverse events, estrogen therapy can be used to minimize menopausal symptoms. The risk of adverse events can be estimated using risk engines for the calculation of cardiovascular risk and breast cancer risk in conjunction with screening tools such as mammography. Use of estrogen therapy, statins, and anti-platelet agents can be guided by such calculators particularly for younger women with diabetes. Risk management remains focused upon lifestyle behaviors and achieving optimal levels of cardiovascular risk factors, including lipids, glucose, and blood pressure. Use of pharmacologic therapies to address these risk factors, particularly specific hypoglycemic agents, may provide some additional benefit for risk prevention. The minimal benefit for women with limited life expectancy and risk of complications with intensive therapy should also be considered.


Cardiovascular diseases; Coronary diseases; Diabetes mellitus; Heart disease risk factors
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