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Gestational Diabetes Linked To Type 1 & 2 Diabetes Later In Life

Researchers have found a way to predict whether women diagnosed with gestational diabetes are predisposed to having type-1 or type-2 diabetes.

Gestational diabetes is linked to type-1 and type-2 diabetes later in life, according to a new study. As such, women who have been diagnosed with having gestational diabetes during pregnancy should be followed up within the years following birth to determine if they have developed problems with regulating their insulin production.

Researchers from Helsinki University Hospital have found that a significant portion of expecting women who were diagnosed with gestational diabetes will develop type-1 or type-2 diabetes in the years after childbirth.

The findings of the study were presented at the 23rd European Congress of Endocrinology on May 24.

RELATED: Pregnant Women Only Make Small Changes After Gestational Diabetes Diagnosis

During that presentation, researchers discussed how their 23-year long study followed women who gave birth between 1984 and 1994 and were diagnosed with gestational diabetes. This was done by contacting the women in 2012 through 2013 and providing them a survey that asked questions about their current level of health, specifically revolving around whether there had been a subsequent diagnosis of type-1 or type-2 diabetes in the years succeeding birth, according to Medical Xpress.

This study was completed because there has been a steady rise in diabetes in general over the past several decades. So much so, that worldwide, it is estimated that 400 million people suffer from diabetes, according to Diabetes Talk. The United State alone has almost 26 million people affected by the condition. More concerning still is that nearly 35 percent of the US population is afflicted with prediabetes as well, according to the publication.

What was determined via the questionnaires is that of those who were diagnosed with gestational diabetes, 50 percent go on to develop type-2 diabetes, while just under 6 percent develop type-1 diabetes.

It appears though, that there is a way to predict whether a woman is at a higher risk of developing either type of diabetes as a result of a gestational diabetes diagnosis during pregnancy.

According to EurekAlert!, glutamic acid decarboxylase and islet cell autoantibodies can “reliably predict” the possibility of having diabetes in the future.

Both of these antibodies help the pancreas to function normally, according to Healthline. However, when an autoantibody is present is when the pancreas is unable to produce insulin properly, leading to either type-1 or type-2 diabetes.

For those who were diagnosed with gestational diabetes, 12 percent showed signs of having autoantibodies, versus those in the control group presenting with then just over 2 percent of the time, according to Medical Xpress.

And of those who had gestational diabetes, 2.6 percent went on to “test positive” for two autoantibodies, per the publication, while 2.3 percent were positive for three.

This was a stark difference to the control group where only one person was positive for two autoantibodies upon testing.

What this study shows is that there is a great need to monitor women who were diagnosed with gestational diabetes in the years after childbirth. The sooner that a determination can be made that a woman is at risk for developing any form of diabetes, lifestyle changes can be made to help reduce that risk of coming to fruition. And by doing so, hopefully, there is the chance that one part of the population can reduce their numbers of diabetes diagnoses to help to bring the overall diabetes cases down to levels not seen in decades.

NEXT: 2-10% Of Pregnancies Affected By Gestational Diabetes, CDC Studies Show

Source: Medical Xpress, EurekAlert!, Diabetes Talk, healthline

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