Gestational Diabetes Increases Heart Risks for Some Women

Gestational diabetes is a short-term type of diabetes that may develop while a woman is pregnant.  The condition itself usually goes away shortly after the baby is delivered. However, women who have gestational diabetes may be at increased risk of future complications, including a higher risk of developing type 2 diabetes and heart disease later in life.

A recent study by researchers at Massachusetts General Hospital in Boston shows the risks of heart disease caused by gestational diabetes are not the same for all women.  The results of the study were presented at the 93rd Annual Meeting of the Endocrine Society.

Researchers studied records of over 800 women who had gestational diabetes during pregnancy between 1998 and 2007 and compared them with a control group of over 3,200 women who did not have gestational diabetes.  The women in the two groups were matched based on total number of pregnancies.

The study used medical records to follow the women for an average of over 11 years to track the development of cardiovascular disease including heart attacks, strokes or high blood pressure.  Women who developed type 2 diabetes during the study time were excluded.

The researchers concluded that once other risk factors were ruled out, gestational diabetes was not a good predictor of which women would develop heart disease in most ethnic groups. However, they also noted that black women who had gestational diabetes were at a significantly higher risk of heart disease.

The highest risk category was Hispanic women.  This group showed a 70 percent greater risk of developing heart disease compared to Hispanic women who had never had gestational diabetes.

The research team recommends that Hispanic and black women who had gestational diabetes should be closely monitored for signs of heart disease.  They also suggest that women who had gestational diabetes should talk to their health care providers about ways to control their risks of future problems.

Funding for this research was provided by the National Institutes of Health, the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, Harold Amos Medical Faculty Development Program, and the Howard Hughes Medical Institute.

Denise DeWitt is a freelance writer for

Related Links:

Diabetes and the Hispanic American Woman
Type 2 Diabetes and the African-American Woman
What are the Differences Between Type 1 and Type 2 Diabetes?



Science Daily. Women’s Risk of Heart Disease After Gestational Diabetes Differs by Race, Study Finds.  Web. March 26, 2012.

University of Maryland Medical Center. Gestational Diabetes. Web. March 26, 2012.

American Diabetes Assocation. Gestational Diabetes. Web. March 26, 2012.

Tags: Gestational diabetes risks,diabetes and cardiovascular disease,diabetes and heart risks

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