Gestational Diabetes Mellitus (GDM) is the most common metabolic disorder in pregnancy, and it is associated with increased risk of morbidity in maternal-fetal outcomes. GDM is also associated with a higher risk to develop diabetes in the future. Diabetes-related autoantibodies (AABs) have been detected in a small percentage (usually less than 10%) of women with gestational diabetes. The prevalence in gestational diabetes of these autoimmune markers of type 1 diabetes (T1D) has been assessed in many studies, together with the risk of progression of AABs-positive GDM towards impaired glucose regulation (IFG or IGT) and overt diabetes after pregancy. The question whether it is necessary to test for T1D autoantibodies in all pregnancies with GDM is still debated. Here we examine the epidemiology of T1D autoantibodies in GDM, their clinical relevance in term of future risk of diabetes or impaired glucose regulation and in term of maternal-fetal outcomes, and discuss when it may be the most appropriate time to search for T1D autoantibodies in women with gestational diabetes.
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