Hispanic Women Have Greater Heart Risk

Hispanic women with gestational diabetes are at increased cardiovascular risk

/ Author:  / Reviewed by: Joseph V. Madia, MD

(RxWiki News) With an increase in gestational diabetes in recent years, researchers had grown concerned that could spell lingering heart disease concerns for many new mothers. A recent study shows that is not the case except for certain high-risk populations.

The impact of gestational or pregnancy-related diabetes can extend well beyond the birth, raising a woman's risk of heart disease and type 2 diabetes, but that seems to apply only to some women.

"Hispanic mothers should tell their doctor if they had gestational diabetes."

Study co-author Dr. Rhonda Bentley-Lewis of Massachusetts General Hospital in Boston, said that not every woman with gestational diabetes is left with the cardiovascular risk.

Bentley-Lewis said the research was the first to consider race in the risk of heart disease following gestational diabetes. More than 800 women were studied between 1998 and 2007. An additional control group of 3,200 women without gestational diabetes also was utilized. Women were followed for nearly 12 years after their pregnancy.

Researchers watched for heart disease including high blood pressure, heart attack and stroke. Women who developed type 2 diabetes were excluded from the remainder of the research.

Hispanic women who had suffered from gestational diabetes were 70 percent more likely to develop cardiovascular disease than Hispanics that had not suffered from the illness.

Bentley-Lewis said more research would be needed to determine why that is the case.

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Review Date: 
June 6, 2011
Last Updated:
June 9, 2011