Children of mothers who had gestational diabetes during pregnancy could be at increased risk of type 1 diabetes themselves, according to a new study led by a team at the Research Institute of the McGill University Health Centre (RI-MUHC) that was published in the Canadian Medical Association Journal (CMAJ).
Early detection of diabetes is important in children and youth, as many — about 25 percent — are diagnosed when seeking care for diabetic ketoacidosis, a potentially life-threatening complication of diabetes that can occur when the body starts running out of insulin.
“Although type 1 and type 2 diabetes in parents are well-established risk factors for their offspring to become diabetic, we show in this study that gestational diabetes may also be a risk indicator for type 1 diabetes in the mother’s children. We found that a child or teen whose mother had gestational diabetes was nearly twice as likely to develop type 1 diabetes before the age of 22,” says senior study author Dr. Kaberi Dasgupta, director and senior scientist of the Centre for Outcomes Research and Evaluation (CORE) at the RI-MUHC and an associate professor of medicine at McGill University.
The study of 73,180 mothers compared data from Quebec (1990-2012) on randomly selected single births from mothers with gestational diabetes to births from mothers without gestational diabetes. The incidence — the number of new cases — of diabetes per 10,000 person-years was 4.5 in children born to mothers with gestational diabetes and 2.4 in mothers without.
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