News article of Patricia
Kapsner (University of New Mexico, Albuquerque, NM) (pictured
left) presentation at the European Association for the Study of
Diabetes (EASD) Annual Meeting in Lisbon, Portugal (11-15
Transgender persons with diabetes treated with hormones for
gender confirmation have several modifiable factors that contribute
to diabetes severity and complications -including elevated levels
of triglycerides and high levels of LDL-c, suggests a small
This study draws attention to this vulnerable group who need
more specialist support and evidence-based programs to improve
Transgender individuals have a gender identity that is different
from their sex assigned at birth. Recent estimates from state and
federal data suggest that around 0.6% of the adult population in
the USA (1.4 million adults) identify as transgender.
Although gender affirming hormone treatment is known to have
effects on lipid profiles, blood pressure, weight, and blood
glucose, the hormones' effect on diabetes risk or disease course is
Furthermore, the management of diabetes in transgender patients
has not been specifically studied.
In this small study, Dr Patricia Kapsner and colleagues from the
University of New Mexico, Albuquerque, NM, USA analyzed data from
all 300 transgender patients attending their multidisciplinary
gender health clinic.
They describe the characteristics of the nine individuals with
type 1 diabetes or type 2 diabetes, and the specialist support that
was needed to improve the quality of their care.
The researchers found that their patients with diabetes on
hormones for gender confirmation had increased modifiable risks
associated with diabetes. Triglycerides tended to be high in
transgender women, most likely due to diabetes and use of
LDL-c was higher and HDL-c was lower in obese patients with
T2DM. They also found that diabetes patients had low levels of
vitamin D, which needed treatment to prevent osteoporosis.
Transgender women with T2DM also tended to be obese, requiring
intensive weight loss management.
The research team note that the dysphoria and high level of
psychosocial issues (e.g., current or past substance abuse) added
to the difficulties of managing diabetes and comorbidities.
The researchers point out that even with support from their
multidisciplinary team (including endocrinologists, psychiatrists,
diabetes educators, nutritionists, nurses, and social services),
recommended targets for patients with diabetes are not always