Research reveals health inequalities for Black and South Asian women with gestational diabetes

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Black and South Asian women are up to three times more likely to develop long-term health conditions following a diagnosis of gestational diabetes than white women, according to a new study.
The research was presented at the Diabetes UK Professional Conference 2022 and led by Elpida Vounzoulaki, PhD, at University of Leicester in the United Kingdom.
Evaluating health records of nearly 11,000 women who had experienced gestational diabetes during their pregnancy, researchers investigated how many went on to develop type 2 diabetes, hypertension, depression, or recurrent gestational diabetes.
They analyzed the data to find out if the women’s ethnicity or level of deprivation was linked to the likelihood of these conditions occurring. After a five-year span following a gestational diabetes diagnosis, they found:
• South Asian women were nearly twice as likely to develop type 2 diabetes when compared to white women.
• Black women were nearly one and a half times more likely to have recurrent gestational diabetes when compared to white women.
• Black women were nearly three times more likely to have hypertension when compared to white women.
“Our research shows that the risk of health complications in women with a history of gestational diabetes differs by ethnicity and socio-economic status, highlighting the potential to target and bolster support for those most at risk of poor health following a pregnancy involving gestational diabetes,” said Vounzoulaki. “There is a need to transform health systems to reduce inequalities, and both healthcare professionals and researchers are required to work collaboratively and take action by developing and incorporating strategies that address health inequalities in diabetes care. We hope that these findings may inform future guidelines on screening for health outcomes in women diagnosed with gestational diabetes in pregnancy.”