Pregnancy Complications Tied to CVD Later in Life

Hypertension and diabetes during pregnancy linked to increased risk of CVD during middle age

FRIDAY, Feb. 17 (HealthDay News) -- Pregnancy-related complications, including hypertensive disorders and diabetes, may identify women at increased risk of cardiovascular disease (CVD) later in life, according to a study published online Feb. 17 in Circulation.

Abigail Fraser, M.P.H., Ph.D., of the University of Bristol in the United Kingdom, and colleagues assessed a prospective cohort of 3,416 women for associations between pregnancy-related complications (gestational diabetes, hypertensive disorders of pregnancy [HDP], preterm delivery, and infant size for gestational age) and calculated 10-year CVD risk (based on the Framingham score) as well as a wide range of cardiovascular risk factors measured 18 years after pregnancy (mean age at outcome assessment, 48 years).

The researchers found that gestational diabetes was positively associated with fasting glucose and insulin, even after adjusting for potential confounders. HDP were associated with body mass index, waist circumference, blood pressure, lipids, and insulin. A large-for-gestational-age infant was associated with greater waist circumference and glucose concentrations, while a small-for-gestational-age infant and preterm delivery were associated with higher blood pressure. The odds ratios for experiencing a cardiovascular event in the next decade were 1.31 for preeclampsia and 1.26 for gestational diabetes, compared to women without the conditions.

"HDP and pregnancy diabetes are independently associated with an increased calculated 10-year CVD risk. Preeclampsia may be the better predictor of future CVD since it was associated with a wider range of cardiovascular risk factors," the authors write.

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