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Aust N Z J Obstet Gynaecol. 1993 May;33(2):114-8.

Why do Asian-born women have a higher incidence of gestational diabetes? An analysis of racial differences in body habitus, lipid metabolism and the serum insulin response to an oral glucose load.

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  • 1Mercy Hospital for Women, Victoria.


We have observed a higher incidence of gestational diabetes (GDM) in Asian-born than in Caucasian women. Body habitus, serum lipid levels and the serum insulin response to a glucose load in pregnancy were compared in 15 women with normal glucose tolerance, 16 Caucasian women with GDM and 19 Asian-born women with GDM. Caucasian women with GDM, unlike Asian-born women with GDM, were obese compared with control women as measured by body mass index (p = 0.022). Both groups of GDM women had similar patterns of insulin response to oral glucose with a delayed insulin peak and an elevated 2-hour insulin level (p = 0.0021). In addition, the insulin response per unit of glycaemic stimulus (incremental insulin area/incremental glucose area at 1 hour) was reduced in both GDM groups (p = 0.035). Fasting serum triglyceride levels were higher in women with GDM although this was only significant in the Caucasian group (p = 0.014). Asian-born women with GDM had significantly lower (p = 0.041) serum cholesterol levels than Caucasian women with GDM. There was a significant correlation (p = 0.025) between glucose tolerance (area under the curve) and fasting serum triglyceride values. The relationship between lipid and carbohydrate metabolism in Asian-born and Caucasian women in pregnancy requires further investigation.

[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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