A rise in a highly preventable pregnancy complication has raised concerns among public health experts that thousands of young Australian women are at future risk of a heart attack or stroke.
Chief Scientist at The George Institute for Global Health, Professor Anushka Patel says in some parts of the urban world, particularly in East Asia and South Asia, it’s getting up to 20 per cent or higher.
The Professor in Medicine says many of those young women of reproductive years aren’t aware of the significant long-term risks of having had gestational diabetes.
‘While many of them return to a normal glucose status immediately post delivery, a very large proportion of them will develop type 2 diabetes in their late 30s early 40s, essentially increasing their risk of heart attack or stroke by three times, so this is a major risk factor for heart disease, Professor Patel told AAP.
In fact, if a woman develops gestational diabetes they have a 700 per cent, or seven-fold, increased chance of developing type 2 diabetes.
‘And then if you develop diabetes you have a three times increased risk of having a heart attack or stroke,’ Professor Patel said.