Screening for type 2 diabetes should increase following gestational diabetes, researchers say

Jack Woodfield
Fri, 19 Jan 2018
Screening for type 2 diabetes should increase following gestational diabetes, researchers say
UK researchers have called to expand screening for type 2 diabetes among women with prior gestational diabetes.

The recommendation follows new study findings which revealed gestational diabetes increases future risk not just of type 2 diabetes, but also hypertension (high blood pressure) and ischemic heart disease.

Women can prevent gestational diabetes and these subsequent risks by maintaining normal blood sugar levels during pregnancy, eating healthy foods and significantly reducing their carbohydrate and sugar intake.

Having analysed more than 9,000 women previously diagnosed with gestational diabetes, researchers observed this cohort was 20 times more likely to develop type 2 diabetes, over two and a half times more likely to develop heart disease and twice as likely to develop hypertension.

Subsequently, the study team which included researchers from the University of Birmingham, Warwick University, University Hospitals Birmingham NHS Foundation Trust and nurse researchers at Auckland University in New Zealand, recommend improved follow-up screening.

Follow-up screening for type 2 diabetes and other cardiovascular risk factors was shown to be poor among this cohort, and the researchers have called for National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE) guidelines to be reviewed.

"Clinical guidelines need to include postpartum screening and management for all cardiovascular risk factors in women diagnosed with gestational diabetes and not restrict it to diabetes," said Dr Barbara Daly, a nurse researcher from the University of Auckland.

Dr Krish Nirantharakumar, from Birmingham University, added: "Guidelines need to include postpartum screening and management for all cardiovascular risk factors."

NICE guidelines are due for review in 2019. They currently recommend annual screening for women with prior gestational diabetes, but Dr Day says more needs to be done considering prevalence of gestational diabetes is rapidly increasing in most developed countries.

The study results appear online in the journal PLOS.
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