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Interventions can lower the risk of diabetes in women with a history of gestational diabetes

Posted:  Monday, March 02, 2015

Gestational diabetes is a form of diabetes that occurs during the second trimester of pregnancy. Women who have suffered from gestational diabetes (GDM) are at a higher risk of developing Type 2 diabetes years after delivery. A new study found that intensive lifestyle intervention or a medication regimen can exert a protective influence among such women.

Published in the Journal of Clinical Endocrinology & Metabolism, the Diabetes Prevention Program Outcomes Study (DPPOS) evaluated long-term metabolic health in 288 women with GDM and 1,226 mothers with no history of the condition (controls). The women were randomly assigned to intensive lifestyle intervention to lose 7% body weight, the diabetes medication metformin or a placebo. The women in the intervention group also had to participate in moderate cardio exercise for 150 minutes a week.

Women with a history of GDM undergoing the intervention were less likely to develop Type 2 diabetes than women who received the placebo. When given placebo, women with a history of GDM had a 48 percent higher risk of developing diabetes compared to women who were never diagnosed with the condition.

Those who were diagnosed with GDM and underwent only lifestyle intervention had a 35.2% reduction in their risk of developing Type 2 diabetes. The risk was reduced by 40.4% in women with a history of the condition and were receiving metformin therapy. Talking about the results, the researchers said, "Medical and lifestyle interventions were remarkably effective at slowing the progression of Type 2 diabetes in this at-risk population in both the short and long term."

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