Serum sex-hormone-binding globulin (SHBG) and corticosteroid-binding globulin (CBG) concentrations were evaluated as risk factors for the development of non-insulin-dependent diabetes mellitus (NIDDM), myocardial infarction, stroke, and premature death in a prospective study of 1462 randomly selected women, aged 38–60 yr, over 12 yr of observation. In multivariate analysis, taking only age into consideration as a confounding factor, low initial concentration of SHBG was significantly correlated to the incidence of NIDDM and stroke, and high initial concentration of CBG was correlated to the incidence of NIDDM. There were also significant correlations between SHBG and CBG concentrations on one hand and possible risk factors for the end points studied, such as serum triglycerides, serum cholesterol, fasting blood glucose, body mass, body mass index, waist/hip ratio, smoking habits, and systolic blood pressure, on the other. When these possible confounders, in addition to age, were taken into consideration in multivariate analyses, only the inverse significant correlation between SHBG and NIDDM remained. The increased incidence of diabetes was confined to the lowest quintile of SHBG values, where it was 5-fold higher than in the remaining group. This incidence was further increased to 8- and 11-fold in the lowest 10 and 5% of the values, respectively. We conclude that SHBG is a uniquely strong independent risk factor for the development of NIDDM in women.

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