Tag Archives: diabetes

Breast Cancer, Diabetes screening worth it; Postpartum Depression screening not

Earlier this week, I wrote about UK researchers concluding that Postpartum Depression screening was just not cost effective.

Since then, a couple of other studies regarding screening for other conditions have been released.

It seems that screening for Diabetes in primary care qualifies as cost-effective.

And screening for Breast Cancer saves lives despite the habitual over-diagnosis. For every misdiagnosed case, two lives are saved. In fact, the researchers for this study state that approximately 6 women are misdiagnosed and undergo unnecessary treatment for cancer they may never have developed as a result of a false positive at the screening level. In case you were wondering, these researchers are UK based as well.

Hey. Wait.

The researchers from the UK cited over-diagnosis  as one of the reasons formal screening for Postpartum Depression was not cost effective.

And being misdiagnosed with Postpartum Depression does not lead to expensive radiation treatment or other damaging exposures including surgery. At very worst, you may receive a script for an anti-depressant or a referral to a counselor for some talk therapy.

What the….

So lemme get this straight.

Pumping a woman full of radiation and chemotherapy is hunky dory and cost effective EVEN if she doesn’t need it.

But a quick questionnaire to check on mom’s mental health is NOT?

On what planet does this even BEGIN to make sense??

Let’s also discuss this little nugget. For both the Diabetes and Breast Cancer studies, ACTUAL records were used. The Postpartum Study was compromised of 92 “hypothetical” cases.

When did we stop rating the study of actual records? When did researchers stop including the actual risks and ripples of Postpartum Depression? A woman without Postpartum Depression or who is successfully diagnosed, treated, and recovering is more likely to breastfeed in my opinion. And if she’s nursing, she’s protecting herself and her child from – guess what – Diabetes AND Cancer.

So you really want to practice cost-effective healthcare?

SCREEN women after birth. Ensure their stability, support, and positive outcome with life as a new mom. Encourage them to participate in health practices for themselves and their children. Enabling women to make healthier choices reduces the risk of other issues down the road. Screening saves lives when it comes to Postpartum Mood Disorders. It saves mothers, children, and families. It’s not something you skip over because it’s simply not “cost-effective.” Skip screening and cost will simply shift elsewhere – to diabetes care, cancer care, future mental health care for mom or kids, broken families, etc.

It is simply not acceptable to allow new mothers to continue to suffer. Not acceptable at all.

Association discovered between Diabetes & Perinatal Depression

"Drink Me" by Ara Alexis

"Drink Me" by Ara Alexis

A new study by researchers at Harvard Medical School and the University of Minnesota School of Public Health focusing on Medicaid Records of over 11.000 NJ moms found an association between Diabetes & Perinatal Depression. The conclusion of the study is that Moms with Diabetes are 55-60% more likely to develop Perinatal Depression. The researchers are quick to point out the Diabetes isn’t necessarily the source of the Depression and that they didn’t take into consideration a family history of mental illness or other risk factors for Perinatal Depression. Their requirements for identification of depression relied on a written diagnosis or filling of anti-depressant prescription during the course of the study. Mothers included in the study had been eligible for Medicaid 6 months prior to birth and up to one year post-delivery.

While the study isn’t conclusive due to the focus on such a local and specific population, the researchers encourage health care providers with Medicaid patients and a Diabetes diagnosis to focus a little more on depression prevention. You can read more about the study here.

My thoughts on this? The beginning of my Postpartum Mood Disorder journey began when my husband had a good job and we had private insurance. I DID develop Gestational Diabetes during pregnancy and went on to develop full blown Postpartum Depression & OCD but was never officially diagnosed. My second pregnancy we still had good insurance but were struggling a bit financially but I did not have Gestational Diabetes – landed in the hospital. Third pregnancy was a Medicaid pregnancy as we did not have access to private insurance. I did not develop Gestational Diabetes and did not have a Mood Disorder either. But I had also become quite educated about PMD’s by then and was very forceful in my advocacy of care.

Research like this should always be taken cautiously and with a grain of salt. It’s encouraging and exciting that so many researchers have taken an interest in Postpartum Mood Disorders but always make sure to look at the big picture and do your own homework before taking someone else’s word for it!