According to research published in CMAJ, diabetes in children is more likely to occur if the mother of the child experienced maternal gestational diabetes.
Early detection of diabetes is critical in children and youth, as many, about one-quarter are diagnosed when seeking care for diabetic ketoacidosis, a potentially life-threatening complication of diabetes. Now researchers from Research Institute of the McGill University Health Centre, Canada, have conducted extensive research uncovering the link of maternal gestational diabetes with diabetes in children.
The likelihood of diabetes in children
Dr. Kaberi Dasgupta, a clinician-scientist from the Centre for Outcomes Research and Evaluation (CORE) at the Research Institute of the McGill University Health Centre, explains: “Although type 1 and type 2 diabetes in parents are well-established risk factors for diabetes, we show that gestational diabetes mellitus may be a risk indicator for diabetes in the mother’s children before age 22.”
The study of 73,180 mothers compared data on randomly selected single births from mothers with gestational diabetes to births from mothers without gestational diabetes.
The incidence, which refers to the number of new cases, of diabetes per 10,000 person-years was 4.5 in children born to mothers with gestational diabetes and 2.4 in mothers without.
A child or teen whose mother had gestational diabetes was nearly twice as likely to develop diabetes before the age of 22 years. The association was found in children from birth to age 22 years, from birth to 12 years, and from 12 to 22 years.
Maternal gestational diabetes is linked to diabetes in children?
“This link of diabetes in children and youth with gestational diabetes in the mother has the potential to stimulate clinicians, parents, and children and youth” adds Dasgupta.
It is important for researchers to now “consider the possibility of diabetes if offspring of a mother with gestational diabetes mellitus develop signs and symptoms such as frequent urination, abnormal thirst, weight loss or fatigue” she concludes.