One of the leading causes of death are cardiovascular diseases and thus it is very important that those diseases are identified at early stages. It is known that women with gestational diabetes tend to have higher risk of having problems with heart and blood vessels than those who did not have this condition during pregnancy. Canadian scientists have recently discovered that if a pregnant woman has even the smallest glucose intolerance, it can be automatically associated with cardiovascular problems.
The study examined data about 435696 women from Ontario, Canada, who gave birth between April 1994 and March 1998. The study followed each women up to March 1998. Women who had history of diabetes before pregnancy were excluded from the study.
Women who had abnormal blood sugar test results, but did not have gestational diabetes, have increased the risk of having heart disease later in their life. However, Dr. Baiju Shah, coauthor of the study, explains that this risk is not as high as in women who did have pregnancy diabetes. Women with increased glucose sensitivity can simultaneously develop type II diabetes and vascular disease. Therefore, conduction of screening tests for gestational diabetes during pregnancy can help identify women who are at risk of having cardiovascular disease later in their life.
Gestational diabetes is characterized by occasional increase in blood sugar levels during pregnancy. Presence of this condition is in fact an important sign of high risk of developing type II diabetes in the future. Even the mildest glucose intolerance during pregnancy can be an early warning that the woman needs to take better care of her cardiovascular system.
The results of the study were published in the Canadian Medical Association Journal.
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