Most people associate July with the start of the new financial year, but it also brings around a very important time of year for Australia. National Diabetes week launches on July 12 this year, and highlights a very serious concern for the community. Diabetes prevalence is increasing at a faster rate than other major chronic disease such as heart disease or cancer. A recent study exploring diabetes in Australia found that 280 people are developing the disease EVERY DAY. This means more than 100,000 people have developed the disease in the last year.
Unfortunately, in a population with a dramatically increased rate of obesity, and with diabetes prevalence being so closely related to rates of obesity, the signs and symptoms of the disease are often treated as “normal”. Thus a huge number of Australians are living with undiagnosed diabetes, and are not taking steps to manage the condition. This places them at extreme risk of developing more severe symptoms later in life.
Many people know that diabetes involves an inability to produce insulin, or to utilise insulin correctly, but few people are truly aware of what that means, or the seriousness of the disease. Diabetes that is poorly managed:
- Is the leading cause of blindness in working age adults
- Is a leading cause of kidney failure and dialysis
- Increases the risk of heart attacks and stroke by up to 4 times
- Is a major cause of limb amputations
Major risk factors for diabetes include family history of diabetes, increasing age, high blood pressure, and waist circumference (>88cm for females and >102cm for males). With the dramatic increase in the prevalence of diabetes and obesity leading into 2015, it is important now, more than ever that Australians are aware of these risk factors and asking their GP to assess them for Diabetes. This can be done with something as simple as a finger tip blood glucose sample.
Management of diabetes often involves modifying some common lifestyle factors including diet and exercise, something that exercise physiologists specialise in. If you, or someone you know is interested in modifying your risk diabetes risk profile, or simply wants more information about diabetes, please contact Body Link Health Clinic.
National Diabetes Week is an initiative run by Diabetes Australia to raise awareness of the disease and how to manage it. For more information visit: