A new study, reported on-line in the September 7, 2004, issue of Circulation, found that postmenopausal women with diabetes and coronary heart disease are 3 times more likely to develop heart failure. Because research has shown that heart failure is a disease of men, the researchers wanted to explore the risk factors for heart failure in women with coronary disease. In the current study, the researchers studied data from 2391 postmenopausal women who were followed for about 6 years.

The 9 indicators of heart failure were diabetes, atrial fibrillation, heart attack, impaired kidney function, high blood pressure, current smoking, obesity, conduction disturbances, and left-sided heart enlargement. The data proved that the presence of diabetes tripled the risk of heart failure. Specifically, the annual rate of heart failure in women who also were obese was 8%. Women with diabetes and kidney impairment had a 13% risk of heart failure.