A novel study has pointed out that women who have gestational glucose intolerance could experience several cardiovascular risk factors after delivery even as early as three months after birth.
Study's lead author Ravi Retnakaran, of Mount Sinai Hospital and the University of Toronto, and colleagues sought to evaluate the relationship between gestational glucose intolerance and postpartum risk of metabolic syndrome (defined as the clustering of several cardiometabolic risk factors including obesity, hypertension and low HDL cholesterol).
Metabolic syndrome, like gestational diabetes itself, is linked to an increased risk of developing type 2 diabetes and cardiovascular disease.
Retnakaran and colleagues followed 487 women who underwent oral glucose tolerance testing during pregnancy. Each subject was classified as either having normal glucose tolerance, gestational glucose intolerance or gestational diabetes.
At three months postpartum, researchers evaluated each subject's cardiometabolic characteristics, such as blood pressure, weight, waist measurement and lipid levels.
The researchers found that even mild glucose intolerance during pregnancy predicts an increased likelihood of the metabolic syndrome at 3 months postpartum.
The presence of cardiovascular risk factors as early as three months postpartum indicates that these risk factors may be longstanding and contribute to the long-term risk of cardiovascular disease in this patient population.
"The study findings raise the important possibility that women with gestational glucose intolerance and subsequent postpartum metabolic syndrome represent a patient population at particularly high risk for the future development of metabolic and vascular disease.
Further research with long-term follow-up is needed to address this possibility," said Retnakaran.
The study is to be published in The Endocrine Society's Journal of Clinical Endocrinology and Metabolism (JCEM).