Did you know if diabetes was a country, it would be the world’s third largest? 10 – 16 July is National Diabetes Week, raising awareness for around 1.5 million Australian families affected by diabetes. On the Sunshine Coast, the number of residents living with type 2 diabetes could almost fill the Sunshine Coast Stadium. That’s about 16,000 people and nearly four people locally are being diagnosed every day.
Sunshine Coast Hospital and Health Service Director of Diabetes and Endocrinology Dr Shyam Sunder said many people believed diabetes only affected older people.
“The reality is people from all age groups can develop diabetes,” Dr Sunder said.
“Those most at risk of developing diabetes are males over the age of 45. Indigenous people or those from an Indian sub-continent also have an elevated risk, as well as people with a family history of diabetes.
“While the number of Australians at risk of developing type 2 diabetes is alarming, up to 60 per cent of cases can be prevented. Appropriate changes in diet and increasing levels of physical activity can put the brakes on the emerging epidemic of diabetes,” Dr Sunder said.
As part of National Diabetes Week, Diabetes Queensland is encouraging people to assess their risk of type 2 diabetes through an online health check. The assessment takes less than two minutes to complete.
• Assess your risk here: www.diabetesqld.org.au/healthy-living/who-is-at-risk/assess-your-risk.aspx .
Diabetes Queensland CEO Michelle Trute said it was critical Australia devoted more effort and funding to prevention to reduce the burden of chronic diseases like type 2 diabetes before they cripple the Australian health system.
“Diabetes is the single biggest challenge confronting Australia’s health system,” Ms Trute said.
“Unless we act now, Queensland could see diabetes related health care spending increase by as much as 500 per cent over three decades to 2032,” Ms Trute said.
Diabetes Queensland says the entire community had a role to play in tackling Queensland’s type 2 diabetes epidemic.