March 10, 2006

Gestational diabetes raises future diabetes risk

NEW YORK (Reuters Health) - Gestational diabetes mellitus
appears to increase the risk of developing diabetes later in
life, Finnish investigators report in Diabetes Care.

Dr. Juha S. Tapanainen, of Oulu University Hospital,
Finland, and colleagues followed 435 women with gestational
diabetes and 435 healthy women (controls) for about six years.

A total of 20 women (4.6 percent) in the gestational
diabetes group developed type 1 diabetes and 23 women (5.3
percent) developed type 2 diabetes. None of the control
subjects became diabetic.

One hundred fifty-five women (35.6 percent) with
gestational diabetes were treated with insulin during
pregnancy. Of the 20 women with gestational diabetes who
developed type 1 diabetes, 18 (90 percent) had received insulin
therapy, and so did 18 of the 23 women (78.3 percent) who
developed type 2 diabetes.

Overall, 62.5 percent of women who developed type 1
diabetes tested positive for islet cell antibodies. Only two
women who later developed type 2 diabetes tested positive for

The results of further analysis revealed that women younger
than 30 years old who required insulin treatment for
gestational diabetes and those who tested positive for
autoantibodies had an increased risk of type 1 diabetes.

These women require careful follow-up after pregnancy
because an earlier type 1 diabetes diagnosis is associated with
a preserved ability to produce insulin and a lower risk of
complications of the circulatory system, Dr. Tapanainen's team

SOURCE: Diabetes Care, March 2006.