Gestational diabetes means elevated risk of a diabetes diagnosis

gestational diabetes linked to future diabetes

A new detailed study of a group of 51 women who were diagnosed with gestational diabetes during pregnancy finds that after a decade had passed, about a third of the subjects had developed diabetes. In addition, among the women without diabetes, most had impaired glucose metabolism (either impaired glucose tolerance or impaired fasting plasma glucose). Overall, less than a quarter of the women in this small study maintained normal glucose metabolism a decade after their pregnancy.

International journal of molecular sciences: Most women with previous gestational diabetes mellitus have impaired glucose metabolism after a decade

This investigation began several years ago, when a large cohort of women with a gestational diabetes diagnosis was surveyed by questionnaire about 11 years post-delivery. In a study published in 2016, the authors reported that 25% of the 1,324 women who responded to the questionnaire had been diagnosed with diabetes at some point in the intervening decade. But the study authors worried that the questionnaires may not present a complete picture, and wanted to investigate further:

A weakness of questionnaire studies is that they do not provide biochemical data for the diagnosis of glucose intolerance, i.e., impaired fasting glucose, impaired glucose tolerance, or diabetes type validated with autoantibodies (glutamic acid decarboxylase, GAD).

Despite the well-known risk of future diabetes in these women, follow-up has not been optimal: a newly published report from primary care units in England indicated that only 20% of gestational diabetes mellitus women had a regular follow-up; a single-centre study recently reported that around 50% were followed up with oral glucose tolerance testing; and in our study, 60% reported a follow-up after gestational diabetes diagnosis.

This new study, which included extensive laboratory tests on each participant, contributes to an increasingly robust body of work showing that gestational diabetes often leads to a diabetes diagnosis. In fact, just last year, a study published in PLoS One showed women with gestational diabetes have 10.6 times the risk of developing diabetes than women with normal pregnancies.

What is an easy take-away? Simply put, this work reinforces the call for women with gestational diabetes to be especially vigilant about their diabetes status as they age. Gestational diabetes is a warning sign, and regular testing for impaired glucose metabolism should become a routine part of future primary care.

Since a low-carb diet can treat and even reverse type 2 diabetes, we assume it will also prevent it. Even without data to prove prevention, it is a great place to start — with delicious, real low-carb food — and see how your markers of insulin resistance respond.

Earlier

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2 comments

  1. june
    I was diagnosed with gestational diabetes in 1969 following the birth of my son weighing in at 9lbs 11oz. I was told that because of my family history of T2 diabetes - my father developed Alzheimer’s and my aunt went blind after undiagnosed glycoma - I would inevitably be T2 as I aged.
    Thanks to dabbling with Atkins, following Michael Eades Protein Power recommendations at certain times my diet was mostly low carb. However, 2+ years ago, age 68, I had my blood tested and I was pre-diabetic.
    Determined not to go the way of my father and aunt I fully embraced LCHF, l lost 25lbs and have never felt healthier. I take no meds and enjoy living in an eternal spring climate surrounded by nature and grow my own vegetables. At the age of 70 I have outlived both my parents and look forward to the next 20 years + until I drop dead - healthy!
  2. Tessa Fox
    Well done you!
    I am 79 and feel like a spring chicken!
    My Husband (80)and I practise yoga, walk miles most days, have Lo carb diet and never eat after 4pm.

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