GDM link to future heart disease

By Julie Griffiths on 17 January 2018 Heart Disease

A new study suggests that there is an increased risk of future heart disease and hypertension in women with gestational diabetes mellitus (GDM).

While previous research has associated GDM with the later development of type 2 diabetes, this new study published in PLoS Medicine has found further health risks.

The study revealed that women diagnosed with GDM were at a very high risk of developing type 2 diabetes and had a significantly increased incidence of hypertension and ischemic heart disease (IHD). 

Researchers looked at the outcomes for more than 9000 women diagnosed with GDM between 1990 and 2016.

When compared against more than 37,000 control women, those diagnosed with GDM were over 20 times more likely to develop type 2 diabetes, 2.8 times more likely to develop IHD, and twice as likely to develop hypertension, although no association was found for cerebrovascular disease.

The researchers also found that less than 60% of women diagnosed with GDM were screened in primary care for type 2 diabetes in the first year postpartum, and the proportion screened rapidly declined after this period.

The study concluded that identifying this group of women in general practice and targeting cardiovascular risk factors could improve long-term outcomes.

Read the full study here.