Thursday, 3 July 2014

Low rates of diabetes screening after pregnancy

Indigenous women who have diabetes during pregnancy have a higher risk of developing type 2 diabetes after giving birth, a study shows.

All women who have gestational diabetes (diabetes during pregnancy) have a high risk of developing type 2 diabetes after giving birth. However, a study by Monash University found that all women have low rates of post-pregnancy screening for diabetes, with lower rates among Indigenous women. 

The study, by Catherine Chamberlain from the University’s Global Health and Society Unit, looked at post-pregnancy care for women with gestational diabetes in Cairns over a seven-year period.

“We found that there were very low rates of post-pregnancy screening for type 2 diabetes for all women, with less than 40 per cent of women ever having the recommended oral glucose tolerance test,” Mrs Chamberlain said.

“Indigenous women were less likely to have post-pregnancy screening, with 17 per cent of Indigenous women and 30 per cent of non-Indigenous women having a postpartum screening test by 12 months after giving birth in 2010.”

Mrs Chamberlain said Indigenous women in urban areas had even lower rates of post-pregnancy screening than Indigenous women in remote areas.

“Diabetes is a particularly serious problem among Aboriginal and Torres Strait Island people, causing a lot of sickness and can lead to an earlier death,” Mrs Chamberlain said.

“It is really important that we improve screening after pregnancy, so we can reduce the risk of women developing complications from undiagnosed type 2 diabetes.”

Mrs Chamberlain said they were currently discussing the findings of the study with health services in Far North Queensland, who requested the study, and are looking at discussing the findings with Indigenous communities to find ways of improving diabetes screening after pregnancy. 

Mrs Chamberlain is presenting her findings at the Apunipima Cape York Health Council on Friday, 4 July from 9:30 – 10:30 am; Cairns Diabetes Centre from 2:30-3:30pm; and Wuchopperan Health Centre on Wed 2 July from 10-11am.

This story originally appeared on Monash News.

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