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Diabetes

Ethnicity affects gestational diabetes outcome

12 years, 11 months ago

1837  0
Posted on Oct 04, 2006, 1 p.m. By Bill Freeman

Among a diverse group of women with pregnancy-related diabetes, also referred to as gestational diabetes, the outcome of their infants varied considerably by ethnic group, according to a new report. Infants born to Native Hawaiians and other Pacific Islanders had higher rates of infants with macrosomia -- abnormally large bodies -- compared with other ethnic groups. Dr. Jana Kaida Silva of the University of Hawaii, Honolulu and colleagues note that although there is a high rate of gestational diabetes in Pacific Islanders and Asian ethnic groups in the United States, little is known about their risk of having an infant born with related complications.

Among a diverse group of women with pregnancy-related diabetes, also referred to as gestational diabetes, the outcome of their infants varied considerably by ethnic group, according to a new report. Infants born to Native Hawaiians and other Pacific Islanders had higher rates of infants with macrosomia -- abnormally large bodies -- compared with other ethnic groups.

Dr. Jana Kaida Silva of the University of Hawaii, Honolulu and colleagues note that although there is a high rate of gestational diabetes in Pacific Islanders and Asian ethnic groups in the United States, little is known about their risk of having an infant born with related complications.

To investigate further, the researchers conducted a review of all 2,115 women referred to a large Hawaiian gestational diabetes outpatient program over a 10-year period. The researchers report their findings in the current issue of Diabetes Care.

Macrosomia of the fetus was detected more than four times as often in Native Hawaiians and Pacific Islanders than in Caucasians. A higher rate of fetal macrosomia was also seen in Filipino women, who had nearly three times the risk compared with that seen in Caucasian women. The differences persisted after allowances were made for other potential maternal and fetal risk factors.

The only other ethnic-related differences in infants were rates of hypoglycemia (low blood sugar levels) and jaundice (high levels of bilirubin in the blood.) Compared with those of Chinese and Japanese origin, these abnormalities were more common in all of the other ethnic groups.

These findings suggest that ethnic factors may play a role in gestational diabetes, which may require treatments designed for different ethnic groups, Silva told Reuters Health.

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