Type 2 diabetes mellitus (T2DM) and cardiovascular diseases (CVD) are among the top ten causes of death in the world. It is observed that the association between T2DM and cardiovascular risk is not the same for both sexes, with cardiovascular risk associated with T2DM being greater in women. Among the different strategies for the prevention and treatment of T2DM and risk factors for CVD, the physical exercise has been largely recommended because of positive effects for the glycemic control, body mass, blood pressure, and lipid profile. Therefore, this manuscript aimed to review the literature about the risk factors that connect T2DM to CVD, the benefits of different types of physical exercise on these factors, and the differences between women and men in this context. The research was carried out in PubMed and Web of Science databases to find works that highlighted the differences between women and men on risk factors that connect T2DM to CVD and the effects of physical exercise. The most recent works, seminal and/or with the closest relationship with T2DM were selected to review. Some different responses were identified between the sexes, although it was not possible to identify whether such differences are due to the characteristics of the sexes or the absence of specific physical exercise protocols for women. In any case, this review reaffirms the benefits of physical exercise for the control of risk factors that connect T2DM and CVD, both in women and in men, and the need for further studies that consider the differences between sexes and so they can propose increasingly adequate protocols.
Keywords: Type 2 diabetes mellitus; cardiovascular system; physical exercise; women’s health.