Aim: To study the postpartum conversion of gestational diabetes mellitus (GDM) to different types of diabetes among Asian Indian women.
Materials and methods: Using data from electronic medical records, 418 women with GDM seen at a tertiary diabetes care center for diabetes in Chennai in South India between 1991 and 2014 were evaluated for development of diabetes postpartum.
Results: Of the 418 GDM women followed up postpartum, 388 progressed to diabetes. Of these 359 (92.5%) developed type 2 diabetes (T2DM) and 29 women (7.5%) developed type 1 diabetes (T1DM). The median time to development of T1DM was 2 years (interquartile range 2 [IQR]) while for T2DM it was 5 years (IQR 6). Women who developed T1DM had significantly lower mean body mass index (BMI) (20.4 ± 2.8 vs. 27.5 ± 4.4 kg/m2, P = 0.001), and higher fasting plasma glucose (222 ± 105 vs. 165 ± 62 mg/dl P = 0.008) and glycated hemoglobin levels (10.2 ± 2.7 vs. 8.5 ± 2.1% P < 0.001) compared to those who developed T2DM. Glutamic acid decarboxylase (GAD) autoantibodies were present in 24/29 (82.7%) of women who developed T1DM.
Conclusion: A small but significant proportion of women with GDM progress to T1DM postpartum. Measurement of GAD antibodies in leaner women with more severe diabetes could help to identify women who are likely to develop T1DM and thus prevent their presentation with acute hyperglycemic emergencies after delivery.
Keywords: Asian Indians; South Asians; gestational diabetes mellitus; glutamic acid decarboxylase; postpartum; type 1 diabetes; type 2 diabetes.