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Women With Gestational Diabetes More Likely To Develop Type-2 Diabetes

In India 35-40% women, who develop Gestational Diabetes Mellitus, run the risk of developing type-2 diabetes within 5 years of delivery. However, only 17.5% of women are aware of the disease and its complication, a new research has shown.  

Gestational Diabetes Mellitus is a form of diabetes which develops among women during pregnancy because the hormones secreted by the placenta for the development of the foetus also block the action of the mother’s insulin. These hormones may cause resistance to the actions of insulin and lead to higher blood sugar levels in women who have risk factors for diabetes.

India has a high prevalence of Gestational Diabetes with 17.8% women in urban areas and 9.9% in rural areas developing Gestational Diabetes Mellitus. Type -2 diabetes is the world’s fastest growing chronic disease, according to the research carried out by the George Institute of Global Health.

Gestational Diabetes Mellitus was thought to be a relatively benign condition, however, now it is known to put women at high risk of subsequently developing Type 2 diabetes – a condition that needs lifelong treatment and is associated with a number of serious complications.

Globally, over 380 million people suffer from diabetes with more than 80% of these living in low-middle income countries. Of this, almost 180 million are women.  Around 15% of pregnant women worldwide are diagnosed with gestational diabetes annually.

As per a recent study conducted in South India, there is a high prevalence with 17.8% of women in urban areas and 9.9% in rural areas developing Gestational Diabetes Mellitus. Despite the high incidence of Gestational Diabetes Mellitus in India, only 17.5% of women are aware of thedisease and its complications. Women who have had Gestational Diabetes Mellitus are at higher risk for type-2 diabetes later in life. Data suggests that in India 35-40% of women with Gestational Diabetes Mellitus run the risk of developing type-2 diabetes within 5 years of giving birth.

Researchers from The George Institute for Global Healthhave teamed up with All India Institute of Medical sciences (AIIMS) to conduct research that will explore whether a lifestyle modification program can delay the onset of type- 2 diabetes in women with Gestational Diabetes Mellitus (GDM) in South Asia. The LIVING (LIfestyleinterVentionINGestational diabetes) study is aimed at determining whether an affordable and culturally acceptable lifestyle intervention, provided to women with Gestational Diabetes Mellitus soon after the delivery of their child, can help reduce the incidence of type-2 diabetes.

Talking about the study, Dr.Josyula Lakshmi, Senior Research Fellow, The George Institute for Global Health said, “The impact of gestational diabetes mellitus on the pregnant woman and her baby are acknowledged and addressed to some extent. However, GDM is not to be taken as seriously as it should be. With a substantial proportion of women with GDM going on to develop Type-2 diabetes mellitus within 5 years, GDM should be taken as a call for increased and sustained attention to the health of affected women.”

“The LIVING study is a trial of a cost-effective, efficient, low-intensity intervention to prevent, or at least delay, the onset of type 2 diabetes mellitus in South Asian women (from India, Bangladesh, and Sri Lanka) who have had GDM.” she added.

This randomised controlled open-label trial will be based in around 24 public and private hospitals across India, Bangladesh and Sri Lanka. The intervention will comprise group sessions and text/voice message prompts on physical activity, healthy diet, and stress management. Trained study staff will deliver the intervention, and monitor the outcomes over the study period of approximately three years.

This study will generate knowledge related to the implementation of a preventive strategy embedded in existing resource-constrained health systems. If shown to be successful, the intervention could be scaled up across the region, and has the potential to help prevent or delay the development of type-2 diabetes in more than a quarter of a million South Asian women with prior Gestational Diabetes Mellitus.

The George Institute for Global Health is works across a broad health landscape by conducting clinical, population and health system research aimed at changing health practice and policy worldwide.   

By TIS Staffer
the authorBy TIS Staffer

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