African-American women who develop gestational diabetes — the diabetes related to pregnancy — have a higher chance of developing type 2 diabetes later on in life, according to a new study published in the journal, Diabetologia. The interesting fact is that African-American women are less likely to develop gestational diabetes. So when they do develop this disease, they have a 52% increased risk for being diagnosed with type 2 diabetes in future, when compared to white women who have gestational diabetes.
Researcher Anny H. Xiang, MD, senior research scientist at the Kaiser Permanente Department of Research and Evaluation in Pasadena, suggests that women with gestational diabetes should be advised about to diet and exercise, to reduce the risk of diabetes in future, especially for African-American women. The reason why African-American women have a higher risk is still unknown. The study clearly shows that these women should check their blood sugar level regularly, engage in exercise, and diet. Both exercise and weight loss can reduce the risk of diabetes considerably.
In this study, researchers reviewed data from 77,666 women who delivered a baby between the years 1995 and 2009. The risk of developing diabetes in the future was 10 times higher in African-American women who had gestational diabetes. The risk was found to be 6.5 times more in non-Hispanic white women, while it was 7.7 times more in Hispanic women. Asian and Pacific Islander women were 6.3 times more likely to develop diabetes, if they had gestational diabetes. “The new study shows that a women’s race and ethnicity should be taken into consideration while counseling them about the risk of diabetes after pregnancy”, says Xiang.
John Buse, MD, PhD, chief of endocrinology at the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill, recommends that all women who develop diabetes during pregnancy should be screened for diabetes after delivery and also at regular intervals after the delivery. Gianluca Iacobellis, MD, PhD, an associate professor in the division of endocrinology, diabetes and metabolism at the University of Miami Miller School of Medicine, says that women who are African-American are more prone to type 2 diabetes.