Improving medical care for diabetic moms

(The Philippine Star) - October 9, 2012 - 12:00am

MANILA, Philippines - Diabetes in pregnancy or gestational diabetes mellitus (GDM) is characterized by high blood glucose levels during pregnancy. Continued high levels of blood sugar during pregnancy raise the mother’s risk of preeclampsia, which is the second leading cause of maternal deaths. GDM also increases the mother’s risk for pre-term birth, caesarian-section delivery as well as the development of type 2 diabetes mellitus even after pregnancy.

The baby is at risk at the same time. GDM pushes up the weight of the infant to about nine pounds or more, giving the baby much difficulty in passing through the birth canal and potentially causing nerve damage to the shoulders. The baby is also very likely to become obese later on in life, which consequently increases his/her vulnerability to diabetes.

According to research by the Kaiser Permanent Center for Health Research, Filipinas are at high risk for GDM. In the study covering different ethnic groups in the US, Filipinos, along with Koreans, had the highest incidence of the condition among nearly 17,000 women aged 13 to 39 who were surveyed.

A 2010 study at the UST Hospital confirmed global statistics when it found 7.5 percent prevalence of GDM among mothers. Risk factors include higher body mass index, family history of diabetes, and use of hormonal contraceptives.

Very much aware of the incidence of diabetes in expecting mothers, the Philippine Society of Endocrinology and Metabolism (PSEM), an organization of local endocrinologists, is putting up the country’s first large-scale database for GDM. The initiative is supported by global healthcare company MSD to improve medical care for diabetic pregnant mothers.

The GDM database kick-starts a bigger collaborative project of PSEM and MSD called Registry of Diabetes, Endocrine & Metabolic Diseases or REDEEM.

The initial GDM database is expected to generate reports that endocrinologists can use to best manage patients suffering from diabetes during their pregnancy. Eventually, the registry will be expanded to include other endocrine diseases.

“It (REDEEM) will help us gather data to identify people who have GDM and how to best manage them to prevent complications,” says Dr. Sjoberg Kho, PSEM president.

Dr. Kho said current GDM data used by doctors are either based on international guidelines or on small local data. With the GDM registry, the large-scale data to be generated will be more relevant because it will be Filipino data.

“Filipinos eat differently, our activities and genes are different. So it’s always good to have our own data,” Kho explains.

Dr. Beaver Tamesis, business unit director of MSD, is glad to have partnered with PSEM on this initiative since the 50-year-old organization is capable of regularly collecting and analyzing data on major diseases that are not prioritized in Western countries. Five hospitals are initially taking part in the project, namely Makati Medical Center, UP-PGH, St. Luke’s Hospital, UST Hospital, and The Medical City. PSEM treasurer Dr. Nemencio Nicodemus Jr. says the registry will eventually be rolled out to all PSEM members nationwide.

MSD considers improving the health of mothers a priority. Recently, the company has launched MSD for Mothers, which seeks to improve maternal health and ensure that no woman has to die of complications of childbirth and pregnancy such as that brought about by GDM.

DATA DIABETES DR. BEAVER TAMESIS DR. KHO DR. NEMENCIO NICODEMUS JR. DR. SJOBERG KHO GDM HEALTH RESEARCH KAISER PERMANENT CENTER MAKATI MEDICAL CENTER MEDICAL CITY
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