Pregnancy glucose levels could be predictive of future cardiovascular disease (CVD).

Women who are pregnant often undergo a glucose challenge test during pregnancy. The test is performed to rule out the chance of gestational diabetes during the pregnancy. A recent study by the Canadian Medical Association Journal reveals that glucose levels lower than those red flagged for diabetes could be predictive of future cardiovascular disease (CVD).

The study involved just fewer than 440,000 women in Ontario. These women gave birth between 1994 and 1998. Follow-ups on the new mothers continued until 2008. Of the women in the study, those who tested abnormally on the glucose challenge test were at higher risk of contracting CVD. This included women who did not actually have diabetes during the pregnancy. The patients who suffered from gestational diabetes were at the highest risk for CVD.

Gestational diabetes can cause high blood pressure, higher than average birth weight and premature birth. Preeclampsia is often associated with gestational diabetes. Gestational diabetes is diagnosed with a 50 g glucose test. During the test, the female drinks a concentrated glucose solution. Blood is drawn at specific times after the solution is consumed to evaluate the bodies reaction to the sudden rise in glucose.

According to the researchers authoring the study, there has always been an implied link between Type 2 Diabetes and CVD. This study expands on that theory by including gestational diabetes. Pregnant women who are diagnosed with gestational diabetes are also at greater risk of having Type 2 diabetes later in life.

It is suggested that patients with a higher than normal glucose tolerance test result, be evaluated for CVD in years after the pregnancy. In the study, CVD was defined as "acute myocardial infarction, coronary artery bypass, coronary angioplasty, stroke or carotid endarterectomy."

Source: Canadian Medical Association Journal / August 2009