History of gestational diabetes ups cardiovascular risks regardless of diabetes status

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Women diagnosed with gestational diabetes mellitus (GDM) are at increased risk for certain long-term cardiovascular complications, whether or not later type 2 diabetes develops, new Canadian research has found.
Having GDM ups a woman’s risks of developing type 2 diabetes by about sevenfold after their affected pregnancy. Researchers tried to find out whether there were other lifetime risks relative to a history of GDM that women who have or had it should be aware about.
It had been suggested that women with GDM tended to have a higher risk of suffering from type 2 diabetes-associated complications, especially cardiovascular complications.
But, it was not known whether this higher risk came from the history of GDM or the development of type 2 diabetes itself.
Scientists from the University of Toronto tested this by looking at the occurrence of these complications in four different groups of women.
These include those with GDM that went on to develop type 2 diabetes and those with GDM who did not develop type 2 diabetes, as well as two control groups of women without GDM who developed type 2 diabetes versus women without GDM who did not develop type 2 diabetes.
To make sure that these findings were reliable enough, these women were all followed over a 10-year period for cardiovascular events.
Results showed that women with GDM, whether they developed type 2 diabetes or not, had increased risks of cardiovascular disease.
A woman with GDM who has type 2 diabetes may be more than twice as likely (2.82) as her peer who doesn’t have GDM to experience a cardiac complication.
Women with GDM history and type 2 diabetes had, for example, a greater-than-threefold (3.54) risk for coronary artery disease, the calcification of the arterial wall.
The likelihood of associated cardiovascular complications is less pronounced for a woman with GDM who doesn’t have type 2 diabetes, but the occurrence rate remains still significant (1.30).
The findings show that women with a history of GDM face a higher risk of cardiovascular complications, in addition to the possibility that they could develop type 2 diabetes.
Following a health-promoting lifestyle, such as adopting a balanced, real-food diet and taking regular exercise, helps minimise these risks.