Gestational diabetes increases the risk of type 2 diabetes years after pregnancy among women. But a new study published in the Journal of Clinical Endocrinology & Metabolism suggests that interventions such as intensive lifestyle intervention or medication regimens can reduce the risk.
Diabetes is chronic metabolic disease in which high blood sugar levels exist over a prolonged time period. Symptoms include frequent urination, increased thirst, and increased hunger. Untreated diabetes can cause many complications including diabetic ketoacidosis, nonketotic hyperosmolar coma, cardiovascular disease, stroke, kidney failure, foot ulcers, eye damage, and death. Gestational diabetes is high blood sugar that occurs during pregnancy. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), gestational diabetes affects 9.2 percent of pregnancies.
Explains study author Vanita Aroda, MD, of the MedStar Health Research Institute in Hyattsville, Maryland:
“Our long-term follow-up study found the elevated risk of developing Type 2 diabetes persisted for years in women who had been diagnosed with gestational diabetes, and this long-term risk can be reduced with either intensive lifestyle intervention or the medication metformin.”
The present study, the Diabetes Prevention Program Outcomes Study (DPPOS), analyzed the long-term metabolic health of 288 women previously diagnosed with gestational diabetes and 1,226 women without a history of the condition. In the initial Diabetes Prevention Program study, a randomized clinical trial, the women were assigned to intensive lifestyle intervention, the diabetes medication metformin, or a placebo. The intensive lifestyle intervention aimed to reduce body weight by 7 percent and included moderate cardio exercise for 150 minutes weekly.
Researchers measured the blood glucose levels of the women twice a year for six years during the study and then looked at long-term health outcomes for about a decade after the women first enrolled in the study.
According to the research, women with gestational diabetes in the test groups were less likely to develop type 2 diabetes compared to women with the condition in the placebo group. Women with gestational diabetes in the placebo group had a 48 percent increased risk compared to women without the condition.
Women with gestational diabetes who participated in the intensive lifestyle intervention experienced a 35.2 percent reduced risk of developing type 2 diabetes. Women with gestational diabetes who were assigned to take metformin experienced a 40.4 percent reduced risk.
In other words, intervention like lifestyle changes and medication can reduce the risk of type 2 diabetes among women previously diagnosed with gestational diabetes.
Concludes Aroda, “Medical and lifestyle interventions were remarkably effective at slowing the progression of Type 2 diabetes in this at-risk population in both the short and long term.”
Another recent study found that women who develop gestational diabetes during pregnancy may have an increased risk of developing heart disease later in life.
Interventions lower diabetes risk in women who had gestational diabetes: http://www.medicalnewstoday.com/releases/289849.php
Interventions lower diabetes risk in women who had gestational diabetes: http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2015/02/150223140943.htm
High Blood Sugar Readings on Glucose Test Monitoring Device: https://www.flickr.com/photos/jeepersmedia/15581183004