Pre-eclampsia and diabetes link found
A link between pre-eclampsia in pregnancy and the development of diabetes in later life has been found in a new study.
The condition, which results in high blood pressure and protein in the mother’s urine, affects 5-8 per cent of pregnancies and is the most common cause of severe perinatal ill health.
The research, carried out by Keele University, showed that pre-eclampsia is independently associated with a two-fold increase in future diabetes.
This increased risk occurs from less than one year after delivery of the baby and persisted to over 10 years after birth.
The findings have been published in the Diabetologia journal.
Dr Pensee Wu, lecturer in obstetrics and gynaecology at Keele University’s Institute of Science and Technology in Medicine, said: “This study highlights the importance of clinical risk assessment and follow-up for the future development of diabetes in women with pre-eclampsia.
“Understanding of health conditions during pregnancy and their impact on health over a woman’s life is vital in the prevention of conditions such as diabetes.
“Ensuring women are screened regularly and take preventative measures through diet and exercise could help reduce the number of women who later contract diabetes after experiencing pre-eclampsia during pregnancy.”
The study involved a systematic review of research over the past 10 years, much of which was conflicting about the impact of pre-eclampsia later in life.
The understanding of the long-term impact of women’s health following pre-eclampsia is, however, growing.
The American Heart Association has linked pre-eclampsia to longer term cardiac conditions.
Dr Wu added: “Diabetes is a multi-organ condition. If we can prevent it from developing early on, it could dramatically reduce the risks of serious health issues later in life for women after birth.”
Researchers hope that dissemination of this study to clinicians, particularly those in Primary Care health provision, will inform practice and longer term preventative measures.