The aim of this work was to examine the progression to type 1 and type 2 diabetes after gestational diabetes mellitus (GDM) in a 23 year follow-up study.
We carried out a cohort study of 391 women with GDM diagnosed by an OGTT or the use of insulin treatment during pregnancy, and 391 age- and parity-matched control participants, who delivered in 1984-1994 at the Oulu University Hospital, Finland. Diagnostic cut-off levels for glucose were as follows: fasting, =4.8 mmol/l; 1 h, =10.0 mmol/l; and 2 h, =8.7 mmol/l. Two follow-up questionnaires were sent (in 1995-1996 and 2012-2013) to assess the progression to type 1 and type 2 diabetes. Mean follow-up time was 23.1 (range 18.7-28.8) years.
Type 1 diabetes developed (5.7%) during the first 7 years after GDM pregnancy and was predictable at a 2 h OGTT value of 11.9 mmol/l during pregnancy (receiver operating characteristic analysis: AUC 0.91, sensitivity 76.5%, specificity 96.0%). Type 2 diabetes increased linearly to 50.4% by the end of the follow-up period and was moderately predictable with fasting glucose (AUC 0.69, sensitivity 63.5%, specificity 68.2%) at a level of 5.1 mmol/l (identical to the fasting glucose cut-off recommended by the International Association of Diabetes and Pregnancy Study Groups [IADPSG) and WHO]).
All women with GDM should be intensively monitored for a decade, after which the risk for type 1 diabetes is minimal. However, the incidence of type 2 diabetes remains linear, and therefore individualised lifelong follow-up is recommended.