Two common pregnancy complications greatly increase a woman’s risk for developing diabetes later in life, according to a new Canadian study.
University of Toronto researchers found that pregnant women who develop gestational high blood pressure or preeclampsia — a combination of high blood pressure, fluid retention, and urinary protein — have twice the odds of being diagnosed with diabetes many years after pregnancy.
The study, published in the Public Library of Science journal PLOS Medicine, is based on an analysis of the medical charts of more than one million women.
"In this large, population-based study, we found that the presence of either preeclampsia or gestational hypertension during pregnancy were strong predictors for the development of diabetes years following the pregnancy, and the presence of preeclampsia or gestational hypertension in a woman with a history of gestational diabetes, increased the risk of diabetes over and above that observed with gestational diabetes alone," the researchers concluded.
"These findings have important implications for maternal health, especially given the increase in obesity-related diseases."
The researchers, led by Denice Feig from the University of Toronto, said the findings suggest that clinicians screen for diabetes in women with a history of preeclampsia or gestational hypertension.
The study is based on an analysis of records of more than one million women who delivered babies in an Ontario hospital between April 1994 and March 2008 who had preeclampsia, gestational hypertension, or gestational diabetes. The researchers then tracked the women to determine who went on to develop diabetes in the period from 180 days after delivery until March 2011.
The results showed the increased risk of future diabetes was 1.95 times higher in women with gestational hypertension, 2.08 times higher in women with preeclampsia alone, and 12.77 times higher in women with gestational diabetes.
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