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Gestational diabetes ups risk for type 2 diabetes

One in four women who had gestational diabetes (diabetes during pregnancy) will go on to develop diabetes in 15 years, according to a study conducted by researchers from the University of Melbourne in Australia. Researchers examined data for 5,470 women with gestational diabetes and 783 women without gestational diabetes who were seen for postnatal follow-up between 1971 and 2003.

Results of the study, published in the journal Diabetes Care, showed that the risk of type 2 diabetes increased with the length of follow-up. The risk of diabetes was 25.8 percent after 15 years, and the risk of developing type 2 diabetes was 9.6 times greater for patients with gestational diabetes than those without gestational diabetes at any time during follow-up.

The study also found, that a number of specific predictors for the later development of diabetes can be identified during the gestational pregnancy. Among these factors that predicted type 2 diabetes, in order of magnitude, included insulin use during pregnancy, Asian race, greater birth weight, and higher than normal results on the one-hour blood
glucose test.

Based on the study findings, researchers conclude that women with a history of gestational diabetes should undergo long-term follow-up to lessen their additional cardiovascular risk.

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