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Sex Hormones Link to Diabetes in Older Women Examined

Study suggests link can be explained by adiposity and insulin resistance to some extent

THURSDAY, Oct. 29 (HealthDay News) -- Adiposity and insulin resistance to varying degrees may explain the association of endogenous bioavailable testosterone (T) with type 2 diabetes (T2DM) in postmenopausal women, but these factors do not completely explain the associations of estradiol (E2) and sex hormone binding globulin (SHBG) with the condition, according to the Multi-Ethnic Study of Atherosclerosis published in the November issue of the Journal of Clinical Endocrinology & Metabolism.

Rita Rastogi Kalyani, M.D., of Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore, and colleagues examined the association between endogenous sex hormones and the development of T2DM in 1,612 postmenopausal women who were not undergoing hormone replacement therapy and did not have cardiovascular disease or diabetes.

During a median follow-up of 4.7 years, the researchers found that 116 women developed T2DM. Higher levels of endogenous T and E2 and lower levels of SHBG were associated with a higher risk of developing T2DM. The association with T was no longer significant after adjusting for body mass index and insulin resistance, while the associations were attenuated but still significant for E2 and SHBG.

"Adiposity and insulin resistance explained most of the association of bioavailable T but only partially explained the associations of E2 and SHBG with incident T2DM among postmenopausal women," the authors conclude.

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