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African-American women with gestational diabetes face high long-term diabetes risk
Date:10/20/2011

(7 percent in the study population). GDM can lead to complications such as early delivery and cesarean delivery and increases the baby's risk of developing diabetes, obesity and metabolic disease later in life. GDM typically goes away after pregnancy but risk of overt diabetes in the future is a concern.

"All women diagnosed with GDM should be screened for diabetes soon after their delivery and subsequently at regular intervals. These women would benefit from lifestyle changes such as changes in diet and increases in physical activity that can reduce diabetes risk," Xiang said. "Our study shows that prevention messages, while important to all women who develop GDM, are particularly important for African American women."

This large retrospective matched cohort study used information from the electronic health records for approximately 140,000 women who gave birth in Kaiser Permanente Southern California hospitals to determine whether differences in GDM prevalence by race/ethnicity translate into similar disparities in overt diabetes conversion after GDM.

This study is part of Kaiser Permanente's ongoing research into health disparities in an effort to eliminate them. A Kaiser Permanente study last year in the Journal of General Internal Medicine found that people with diabetes who have limited health literacy are at higher risk for hypoglycemia. Another Kaiser Permanente study last year in the Journal of Community Health found that community intervention can help American Indian families change behavior related to early childhood weight gain, obesity and behavior change. More information on Kaiser Permanente's health disparities work can be found here: kp.org/healthdisparities

Based on this new study, researchers cannot determine the reason for the higher diabetes rates in African American women after GDM but combinations of genetic, environmental, lifestyle or other factors may contribute to the increased risk.


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Contact: Danielle Cass
danielle.x.cass@kp.org
510-267-5354
Kaiser Permanente
Source:Eurekalert

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