The American Heart Association's rapid access journal, Hypertension, recently reported that when pregnant women develop pregnancy-related diabetes (gestational diabetes), having a healthy diet may reduce their chances of developing high blood pressure when they are older.
“Our earlier research showed that diabetes in pregnancy increased a woman’s risk of developing hypertension, even 16 years after giving birth,” Cuilin Zhang, senior study author, said. “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.”
The study involved 3,818 women with a history of gestational diabetes. Throughout 22 years of follow-up, exactly 1,069 women reported that they developed high blood pressure. Having high blood pressure can increase a woman’s chance of having a stroke or heart attack.
However, women who maintained a healthy diet had 20 percent less chance of developing high blood pressure when compared to the people who did not eat healthily.
In light of this research, health care providers and physicians should promote a healthy diet and good amounts of exercise during the pregnancy, as well as afterward.