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HRT May Increase Risk of Impaired Fasting Glucose

Study suggests hormones may be reason for sex differences in impaired fasting glucose/impaired glucose tolerance

WEDNESDAY, Dec. 20 (HealthDay News) -- Female sex hormones play an important role in the pathogenesis of impaired fasting glucose and impaired glucose tolerance and may be the reason sex differences occur for these markers of pre-diabetes, researchers report in the December issue of Diabetes. In addition, postmenopausal women on hormone replacement therapy, or HRT, have a higher risk of impaired fasting glucose than women who are not.

Kristina Utzschneider, M.D., of VA Puget Sound Health Care System and University of Washington in Seattle, and members of the American Diabetes Association Genetics of Type 2 Diabetes study group reviewed glucose tolerance test data from 2,164 first-degree relatives of patients with type 2 diabetes.

Overall, women were more likely to have impaired glucose tolerance (relative risk, 1.8) and less likely to have impaired fasting glucose (relative risk, 0.5) than men. Postmenopausal women who received HRT also had a higher risk for impaired fasting glucose than women not receiving hormone therapy, further suggesting that hormones affect disease.

"Based on the influence of sex and HRT on the prevalence of isolated impaired fasting glucose and isolated impaired glucose tolerance, we conclude that female sex hormones may play an important role in the pathogenesis of impaired fasting glucose and impaired glucose tolerance," the authors write. "Further studies in humans are needed to better understand whether and in what manner female hormones may impact glucose regulation."

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