Mild blood sugar rise may signal heart disease in pregnancy
A temporary spike in blood sugar levels in pregnancy, known as gestational diabetes, has been linked to an increased risk of heart disease. However, a new study from the CMAJ suggests that even mildly high blood sugar may also up a woman’s risk during pregnancy.
Researchers looked at more than 430,000 Ontario women who did not have diabetes prior to pregnancy and who were given a glucose challenge test which showed that 349,000 of these women had normal blood sugar levels. Those who had higher than normal blood glucose levels were then given a different test to diagnose gestational diabetes. The researchers later found that those who had high blood sugar but were not diagnosed with gestational diabetes still faced a higher risk of heart disease than the women who’d had normal results from the beginning.
Researchers noted how many of these women were later admitted to hospital for heart attack, bypass surgery, angioplasty, stroke or other heart disease over 12 years of follow-up.
The women with gestational diabetes or with mild glucose intolerance during pregnancy had a higher risk of heart disease compared with women who were not suspected of having abnormal blood sugar levels. The results suggest that even women without a diagnosis of gestational diabetes may still be at risk from increased blood sugar levels.
If you are concerned about your blood sugar levels or have a family history of diabetes (gestational or type 2), speak to your healthcare provider about the possibility of taking a glucose test. Once the issue is identified, your healthcare provider can help find solutions to reduce the risk to yourself and your baby during your pregnancy.
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Posted: September 14, 2009
Source: Retnakaran R, Shah BR. Mild glucose intolerance in pregnancy and risk of cardiovascular disease: a population-based cohort study. Published online ahead of print August 24, 2009. CMAJ
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