Women with type 2 diabetes are less likely than men to be prescribed statins to prevent heart attacks and strokes, new research suggests.
The condition, which occurs when the body does not properly produce insulin, increases the risk of cardiovascular disease in both sexes.
However, a study published in the journal Circulation suggests that there may be a "prescription bias" during treatment.
The research, funded by the charity Diabetes UK, also found that men and women with this condition now experience a similar relative increase in the risk of cardiovascular disease.
Previously, a greater proportionate increase was observed in women, the authors said.
Researchers from the University of Manchester analyzed data on 80,000 newly diagnosed people with type 2 diabetes in England between 2006 and 2013.
Among these, 11.6% of women and 12.8% of men developed cardiovascular diseases, according to the study.
This compared to 7.4% of women and 8.1% of men without diabetes.
Meanwhile, women with type 2 diabetes were 26% less likely to be prescribed ACE inhibitors and 16% less likely to receive statins than men with this condition.
They also found that women who already had some symptoms of cardiovascular disease were 37% less likely to receive ACE inhibitors and 41% less likely to receive statins than men.
Dr Elizabeth Robertson, Diabetes UK Research Director, said: "These new findings suggest that the outlook for women with type 2 diabetes is better than previously thought, thanks to improved care.
"However, we must ensure that all those suffering from type 2 diabetes get the best treatments and cures to reduce the risk of potentially fatal cardiovascular complications such as heart attack or stroke as much as possible."
The researchers believe that the gender bias in prescriptions could be due to differences in the symptoms of cardiovascular diseases between men and women or in the attitudes of health professionals and patients.
The dott. Martin Rutter, senior researcher at the University of Manchester, said: "Further research is needed to understand the reasons for these differences in prescription between men and women and to find ways to bridge the gap.
"Research in primary care is particularly necessary, as this is where most people with type 2 diabetes are treated."
– Press Association