Women with gestational diabetes are more likely to get high blood pressure -- but there's a straightforward method of fighting it.
A new study has found a very simple approach to battling diabetes after pregnancy — and it’s as old fashioned as it is effective.
Eating a healthy diet can bring the risk of high blood pressure down — a risk which is increased by diabetes during pregnancy, or gestational diabetes, according to an American Heart Association statement.
Scientists have long noted that a healthy diet can fix a range of physical ailments — and as it turns out, high blood pressure from gestational diabetes is one of them. Forget taking a pill or trying a quick fix — the study suggests that eating a diet rich in fruits and vegetables and whole grains, while limiting red and processed meats as well as refined grain, is the key to lowering your high blood pressure risk years after gestational diabetes.
Gestational diabetes affects 200,000 women in the United States ever year.
The study examined 4,000 women between 1989 and 2011 who had a history of gestational diabetes. Over 18 years, more than 1,000 of them — a quarter of the total — developed high blood pressure.
However, women who had the healthiest diets were 25 percent less likely to get high blood pressure.
“Our earlier research showed that diabetes in pregnancy increased a woman’s risk of developing hypertension, even 16 years after giving birth,” Cuilin Zhang, M.D., Ph.D., senior study author and senior investigator at the Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child Health and Human Development in Rockville, Maryland, said in the statement. “Our current study shows that a healthy diet, which has been proven to reduce high blood pressure risk in the general population, appears to be equally effective in reducing the risk in this group of high risk women.”
Zhang added: “While the majority of these women’s glucose levels will return to normal after delivery, our study should serve as an early warning signal.”