The new analysis includes approximately 1100 women without type 1 or type 2 diabetes (T2D) who subsequently gave birth at least once during the 25-year study period, which ended in 2011.
New research results suggest that women with a history of gestational diabetes are twice as likely to develop calcium in the heart arteries by midlife, even if healthy blood glucose levels were attained many years after pregnancy. This is a strong predictor of heart disease, according to the authors of the findings, which were published in Circulation.
The new analysis includes approximately 1100 women without type 1 or type 2 diabetes (T2D) who subsequently gave birth at least once during the 25-year study period, which ended in 2011. Blood tests were performed from before to after pregnancies at 5-year intervals to determine whether the women had developed overt T2D or had normal blood glucose levels or intermediate elevations in blood glucose levels. Heart scans were performed to measure coronary artery calcium at 15, 20, and 25 years after the baseline first exam of the study.
Notably, attaining healthy blood glucose levels after pregnancy did not decrease the risk of developing cardiovascular disease in midlife for women with a history of gestational diabetes. Of women with previous gestational diabetes, 36% developed prediabetes and 26% developed T2D compared with 35% and 9%, respectively, of women with no history of gestational diabetes.
Furthermore, 25% of women with a history of gestational diabetes had some level of coronary artery calcium versus 15% of women who never had gestational diabetes.
Diabetes during pregnancy may increase risk of heart disease. News release. American Heart Association. February 1, 2021. Accessed November 8, 2021. https://newsroom.heart.org/news/diabetes-during-pregnancy-may-increase-risk-of-heart-disease?preview=04be