Little is known about the association between prior gestational hyperglycemia of different severity and the subsequent risk for the metabolic syndrome. Eighty-one women with prior gestational diabetes mellitus (GDM), 25 with one abnormal value at the oral glucose tolerance test (OGTT), and 65 with normal OGTT were studied after a mean of 8.5 yr from the index pregnancy. Patients with prior gestational hyperglycemia (both one abnormal value at the OGTT and GDM) showed a worse metabolic pattern than subjects with gestational normoglycemia [respectively higher values of body mass index (BMI), waist, blood pressure, serum glucose, insulin, C-peptide, homeostatic model assessment (HOMA), fibrinogen and lower levels of HDL-cholesterol]. Prevalence of the metabolic syndrome and its components was 2-4-fold higher in women with prior gestational hyperglycemia (and 10-fold higher if pre-pregnancy obesity coexisted) when compared to normoglycemic controls; in a Cox proportional hazard model, after adjustments for age and pre-pregnancy BMI, gestational hyperglycemia and pre-pregnancy BMI predicted subsequent metabolic syndrome [respectively: hazard ratio (HR)=4.26 and HR=1.21] and most of its components. In the same model, the highest quartile of fasting serum glucose at the OGTT of the index pregnancy was significantly associated to the metabolic syndrome and its components. Gestational hyperglycemia and fasting glucose values were also associated to subsequent fibrinogen values, but not to albumin excretion rates. In young adult women, prior gestational hyperglycemia (particularly abnormal fasting glucose values), above all in combination with pre-pregnancy obesity, anticipates a subsequent syndrome at high cardiovascular risk and, possibly, a mild chronic inflammatory response.
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