Insight in sex disparities in the detection of cardiovascular risk factors and diabetes-related complications may improve diabetes care. The aim of this systematic review is to study whether sex disparities exist in the assessment of cardiovascular risk factors and screening for diabetes-related complications.
PubMed was systematically searched up to April 2020, followed by manual reference screening and citations checks (snowballing) using Google Scholar. Observational studies were included if they reported on the assessment of cardiovascular risk factors (HbA1c, lipids, blood pressure, smoking status, or BMI) and/or screening for nephropathy, retinopathy, or performance of feet examinations, in men and women with diabetes separately. Studies adjusting their analyses for at least age, or when age was considered as a covariable but left out from the final analyses for various reasons (i.e. backward selection), were included for qualitative analyses. No meta-analyses were planned because substantial heterogeneity between studies was expected. A modified Newcastle-Ottawa Quality Assessment Scale for cohort studies was used to assess risk of bias.
Overall, 81 studies were included. The majority of the included studies were from Europe or North America (84%).The number of individuals per study ranged from 200 to 3,135,019 and data were extracted from various data sources in a variety of settings. Screening rates varied considerably across studies. For example, screening rates for retinopathy ranged from 13% to 90%, with half the studies reporting screening rates less than 50%. Mixed findings were found regarding the presence, magnitude, and direction of sex disparities with regard to the assessment of cardiovascular risk factors and screening for diabetes-related complications, with some evidence suggesting that women, compared with men, may be more likely to receive retinopathy screening and less likely to receive foot exams.
Overall, no consistent pattern favoring men or women was found with regard to the assessment of cardiovascular risk factors and screening for diabetes-related complications, and screening rates can be improved for both sexes.
- diabetes-related complications
- healthcare provision
- risk factors
- sex disparities
- systematic review