Healthy Diet After Gestational Diabetes Lowers Long-Term Hypertension Risk

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:

Cuilin Zhang MD, PhD Senior Investigator, Epidemiology Branch Division of Intramural Population Health Research NICHD/National Institutes of Health Rockville, MD 20852

Dr. Cuilin Zhang

Cuilin Zhang MD, PhD
Senior Investigator, Epidemiology Branch
Division of Intramural Population Health Research
NICHD/National Institutes of Health
Rockville, MD 20852

MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study?

Dr. Zhang: Hypertension is one of the most prevalent and preventable risk factors for cardiovascular and kidney diseases, and is one of the leading causes of death in the United States.

We have previously reported that the cumulative incidence of hypertension for women with a history of gestational diabetes mellitus (GDM) was 26% higher than those who did not have GDM even 16 years after the index pregnancy. Thus, women with a history of GDM represent a high-risk population for hypertension that could benefit from early prevention. While there is extensive literature on how lifestyle factors may influence blood pressure in the general population, no information is currently available on the role of diet and lifestyle in the development of hypertension specifically in this susceptible population. To address these gaps, we prospectively examined the associations between long-term adherence to three healthy diets with subsequent risk of hypertension among women with a history of gestational diabetes mellitus, specifically the DASH diet, the alternative Mediterranean diet (aMED), and the Alternative Healthy Eating Index (AHEI).

MedicalResearch.com: What are the main findings?

Dr. Zhang: We observed an inverse association between adherence to healthful dietary patterns, AHEI, DASH or Mediterranean diet, and risk of hypertension later in life. Comparing extreme categories, women consuming a higher quality diet after gestational diabetes mellitus had on average a 20% lower risk of subsequent hypertension. Increase in BMI explained around 20-30% of the association between healthful dietary patterns and hypertension.

MedicalResearch.com: What should clinicians and patients take away from your report?

Dr. Zhang: Encourage women who had gestational diabetes mellitus in pregnancy to adapt healthy diet after the index pregnancy.

MedicalResearch.com: What recommendations do you have for future research as a result of this study?

Dr. Zhang: Future studies among minority population are warranted.

Citation:

Shanshan Li, Yeyi Zhu, Jorge E. Chavarro, Wei Bao, Deirdre K. Tobias, Sylvia H. Ley, John P. Forman, Aiyi Liu, James Mills, Katherine Bowers, Marin Strøm, Susanne Hansen, Frank B. Hu, Cuilin Zhang. Healthful Dietary Patterns and the Risk of Hypertension Among Women With a History of Gestational Diabetes Mellitus. Hypertension, 2016; HYPERTENSIONAHA.115.06747 DOI: 10.1161/HYPERTENSIONAHA.115.06747

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