OBJECTIVE: Accumulating evidence suggests that hyperandrogenemia may be a risk factor for coronary heart disease (CHD) in women. The present study was carried out to test the hypothesis that hyperandrogenemia is associated with type 2 diabetes in women and thus may contribute to the increased risk of CHD in women with type 2 diabetes. RESEARCH DESIGN AND METHODS: Sex hormones, sex hormone-binding globulin (SHBG), and risk factors for CHD were measured in 20 postmenopausal women with type 2 diabetes and in 29 control subjects. All of the diabetic and control subjects were Hispanic women aged >55 years who were not taking hormone replacement therapy lipid-lowering drugs, or insulin and who were otherwise randomly chosen from a cohort of stroke-free subjects from the Northern Manhattan Stroke Study RESULTS: Mean age, BMI, total cholesterol, LDL cholesterol, HDL cholesterol, triglycerides, blood pressure, and smoking were not significantly different between cases and control subjects, but waist-to-hip ratio (WHR) was significantly higher in the diabetic subjects (P = 0.01). The mean levels of free testosterone (FT) (P = 0.01), dehydroepiandrosterone sulfate (P<0.04), and estradiol (P = 0.01) (controlled for WHR) were significantly higher in the diabetic subjects; with the statistical outliers removed, the testosterone (P = 0.05) and androstenedione (P = 0.002) levels (controlled for WHR) were also significantly higher in the diabetic subjects. The mean levels of estrone, cortisol, and SHBG were not significantly different. The results were similar in the 10 diabetic subjects treated with diet only Significant positive correlations (controlled for age and BMI) were observed between FT or testosterone and cholesterol, LDL cholesterol, and blood pressure. CONCLUSIONS: Postmenopausal Hispanic women with type 2 diabetes had both hyperandrogenemia and hyperestrogenemia, and testosterone or FT correlated positively with risk factors for CHD. Hyperandrogenemia may be a link between diabetes and CHD in women.

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