PREGNANT women are being warned of the alarming increase in gestational diabetes which has affected 38,000 Australians in the past 12 months.
And the latest projections are showing more than 500,000 Australian women could develop it over the next decade.
However, Echuca-Moama Family Medical Centre dietitian Amy Burrowes said with 1.4 per cent of pregnant women diagnosed with gestational diabetes in Campaspe, it was well below the national average of 3 per cent.
However, that was no reason to be complacent.
Ms Burrowes said women were more at risk of developing the condition if they were over the age of 30; had a family history of type 2 diabetes; were overweight; from an Aboriginal, Torres Strait Islander Vietnamese, Chinese, middle eastern, Polynesian or Melanesian background; and had gestational diabetes during previous pregnancies.
‘‘Gestational diabetes is a form of diabetes diagnosed during pregnancy and for most women disappears once the baby is born,’’ she said.
Ms Burrowes said women were diagnosed by a glucose tolerance test at 24-28 weeks and it was caused by the hormones made in the placenta blocking the insulin action. To manage it, Ms Burrowes advised women to test their blood glucose levels through the day; eat a healthy balanced diet; and exercise regularly, while, for some, insulin injections are needed.
Diabetes Australia chief executive Greg Johnson said gestational diabetes posed a dual threat.
‘‘Firstly without appropriate management and care, it can be a serious risk to mother and baby during the pregnancy and, secondly, it poses a serious future risk for both mother and baby developing type 2 diabetes and other health issues,’’ Prof. Johnson said.
‘‘After gestational diabetes, women are at high risk of developing type 2 diabetes and children born to mothers who have gestational diabetes are also at an increased risk of being overweight or obese, or developing type 2 diabetes.
‘‘The alarming increase in the number of women developing gestational diabetes presents an intergenerational diabetes issue and threatens to make the type 2 diabetes epidemic even bigger in future.’’