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A1c Level During Gestational Diabetes Predicts Long-Term Diabetes Risk

High glycosylated hemoglobin levels in women with gestational diabetes are associated with the development of diabetes in the future, new research indicates. The results also suggest, contrary to some earlier reports, that gestational diabetes is a risk factor for future diabetes regardless of ethnicity, according to the report in the June issue of the Postgraduate Medical Journal.

The findings stem from a follow-up study of 73 women who were diagnosed with gestational diabetes between 1995 and 2001 and were reevaluated with oral glucose tolerance testing 4.38 years later, on average. Thirty-six of the women were South Asian and 37 were Caucasian.

On follow-up, 48.6% of South Asian women and 25.0% of Caucasian women had developed diabetes, lead author Dr. Matthew D. Oldfield, from Kingston Hospital in Surrey, UK, and colleagues note.

Risk factors for developing diabetes included older age at follow-up, and higher body mass index, more severe hyperglycemia, and insulin requirement during pregnancy.

An elevated HbA1c value during pregnancy increased the odds of future diabetes by 4.09- and 9.15-fold in South Asian and Caucasian women, respectively.

"Further examination of the value of HbA1c measurement in the gestational diabetes pregnancy should be undertaken as it has the potential to target screening away from those at minimal risk," the authors conclude.

Postgrad Med J 2007;83:426-430.

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DID YOU KNOW:

Alzheimer’s cases expected to quadruple by mid-century: More than 26 million people worldwide have Alzheimer’s disease, and a new forecast says the number will quadruple by 2050. At that rate, one in 85 people will have the brain-destroying disease in 40 years, researchers from Johns Hopkins University conclude. A recent U.S. study estimated that this nation’s Alzheimer’s toll will reach 16 million by 2050, compared with more than 5 million today. The new estimate is significantly lower, suggesting only 3.1 million North American cases today and 8.8 million by 2050.

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