Women's risk of heart disease after gestational diabetes differs by race

June 6, 2011

New research finds that gestational diabetes, or pregnancy-related diabetes, may not raise the risk of heart disease independent of other cardiovascular risk factors except in certain high-risk populations, such as Hispanics. The results will be presented Monday at The Endocrine Society's 93rd Annual Meeting in Boston.

"The prevalence of gestational diabetes is increasing, and its impact for the mother can extend well beyond pregnancy by raising her risk of developing and heart disease," said study co-author Rhonda Bentley-Lewis, MD, of Massachusetts General Hospital in Boston, where the study was performed

"However, we found that gestational diabetes does not confer the same cardiovascular risk to every woman," she said.

Bentley-Lewis called this large population study the first to examine the racial impact on the after gestational diabetes. She and her colleagues studied more than 800 women who delivered infants and had a diagnosis of gestational diabetes between 1998 and 2007. The researchers compared these participants with a control group of more than 3,200 women who had no history of diabetes during pregnancy. They matched cases and controls by their total number of pregnancies.

After delivery, women were followed for a median of 11.9 years for the development of cardiovascular disease, specifically heart attack, stroke and , as indicated by medical records. Women who developed Type 2 diabetes during that time were excluded from further analysis.

The investigators found that gestational diabetes alone did not predict which women would get heart disease apart from other risk factors, such as older age and high blood pressure. However, when they analyzed the by racial-ethnic group, black race and Hispanic ethnicity predicted heart disease even after adjusting for other risk factors. In particular, with past gestational diabetes were 70 percent more likely to develop heart disease than their Hispanic counterparts without pregnancy-related diabetes.

"Hispanic women with gestational diabetes developed heart disease to a greater degree than would be predicted," Bentley-Lewis said, adding that more research is needed to learn why.

"Physicians should closely monitor women with a history of , to control their heart disease risk factors," she said. "Their risk for cardiovascular outcomes might differ by race or by factors that we didn't evaluate."

Related Stories

Recommended for you

New molecule may hold the key to triggering the regeneration and repair of damaged heart cells

August 21, 2017
New research has discovered a potential means to trigger damaged heart cells to self-heal. The discovery could lead to groundbreaking forms of treatment for heart diseases. For the first time, researchers have identified ...

Researchers investigate the potential of spider silk protein for engineering artificial heart

August 18, 2017
Ever more people are suffering from cardiac insufficiency, despite significant advances in preventing and minimising damage to the heart. The main cause of reduced cardiac functionality lies in the irreversible loss of cardiac ...

Lasers used to detect risk of heart attack and stroke

August 18, 2017
Patients at risk of heart attacks and strokes may be spotted earlier thanks to a diagnosis tool that uses near-infrared light to identify high-risk arterial plaques, according to research carried out at WMG, University of ...

Cholesterol crystals are sure sign a heart attack may loom

August 17, 2017
A new Michigan State University study on 240 emergency room patients shows just how much of a role a person's cholesterol plays, when in a crystallized state, during a heart attack.

How Gata4 helps mend a broken heart

August 15, 2017
During a heart attack, blood stops flowing into the heart; starved for oxygen, part of the heart muscle dies. The heart muscle does not regenerate; instead it replaces dead tissue with scars made of cells called fibroblasts ...

Injectable tissue patch could help repair damaged organs

August 14, 2017
A team of U of T Engineering researchers is mending broken hearts with an expanding tissue bandage a little smaller than a postage stamp.

0 comments

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.