A new study by scientists at the University of Bristol has found that people who develop either diabetes or a pregnancy-related hypertensive disorder could be more likely to suffer from cardiovascular disease (CVD) once they reach middle age.
The research, which was published in Circulation: Journal of the American Heart Associatio, involved 3,416 pregnant women who took part in a study of parents and children in the early 1990s. Those who had diabetes or pregnancy-related hypertension (known as pre-eclampsia) faced an increased risk of CVD later in life.
It was also shown that pre-eclampsia was linked with a variety of risk factors for CVD and could prove to be a better predictor of CVD in middle age than alternative pregnancy-related complications. Such complications include gestational or pregnancy diabetes, hypertensive disorders of pregnancy, the size of babies at birth and pre-term delivery.
When the chances of having a cardiovascular event over the next 10 years were measured, the study found that gestational diabetes was linked to a 26 per cent and pre-eclampsia a 31 per cent higher risk of developing heart disease in middle age.
Researcher Abigail Fraser commented “We wanted to learn about possible explanations as to why women with pregnancy complications tend to have more heart disease later in life.”

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