Link Between Gestational Diabetes and Risk for CVD and Diabetes in Hispanic/Latina Population

pregnant woman receiving ultrasound
pregnant woman receiving ultrasound
Investigators sought to compare cardiovascular risk and disease prevalence in the Hispanic and Latina population in the United States with and without a history of gestational diabetes.

Hispanic/Latina Women with gestational diabetes mellitus (GDM) in the US are at an increased risk for diabetes but not cardiovascular disease, according to a recent study published in Women & Health.

Hispanic/Latina women in the United States are 2 to 4 times more likely to have GDM than non-Latina white women, and this population has experienced a rapid increase in other cardiovascular health risk factors in recent years. However, the overall US Hispanic/Latino population has lower than expected rates of cardiovascular disease as well as better life expectancy. The current study sought to discover whether these paradoxical effects existed for US Hispanic/Latina women with a history of GDM by comparing risk factors, social demographics, and disease prevalence for Hispanic/Latina women with and without GDM history.  There were a total of 8262 women, of those 305 had a history of GDM (GDM group) and 7957 without GDM (no-GDM group).

The study found that women in the GDM group were more likely to have health insurance than the non-GDM group (68.1% GDM vs. 54.9% no-GDM). They were also younger (mean age of 39.1 years for GDM vs 45.5 years for no-GDM), had higher fasting glucose levels (116.0 mg/dL [95% CI, 107.8-124.3] for GDM vs 104.2 mg/dL [95% CI, 103.4-105.1] for no-GDM), had greater waist circumference (mean circumference of 102.3 cm for GDM vs 98.1 cm for no-GDM), and were more likely to have diabetes or metabolic syndrome (odds ratio [OR] 3.3 [95% CI, 2.2-4.8] and OR 1.7 [95% CI, 1.2-2.6], respectively). A similar incidence of heart and cerebrovascular disease was found in both groups.

Study investigators conclude that “a history of GDM was associated with metabolic syndrome and diabetes. Women with a history of GDM should be targeted for management of cardiometabolic health and diabetes risk reduction. Despite a history of GDM, the prevalence of cardiovascular disease was low and similar to women without a history of GDM. Findings may be a function of younger average age of women with a history of GDM.”

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Perera MJ, Reina SA, Elfassy T, et al. Gestational diabetes and cardiovascular risk factors and disease in U.S. Hispanics/Latinas in the Hispanic Community Health Study/Study of Latinos (HCHS/SOL) [published online July 24, 2018]. Women Health. doi: 10.1080/03630242.2018.1500415