Diabetes NSW & ACT has released data revealing that a quarter of Australians over the age of 25 are currently living with diabetes or pre-diabetes, meaning the condition is now impacting more lives than ever before.
According to the new data, 407,725 people in NSW are living with diabetes and diagnoses are on the rise, up 13 per cent compared to last year.
In the Bega Valley 5.8 per cent of the local population lives with diabetes which is higher than the national average of 5.4 per cent; these figures include both type 1 and type 2 diabetes. However the figure is hardly surprising given our older demographic.
Diabetes NSW & ACT CEO Sturt Eastwood said that age was the biggest driver for type 2.
“It is exacerbated by the system wearing out but this can happen faster if your lifestyle is not good,” Mr Eastwood said.
“In all communities, given that we are living longer, one in three people can expect to develop diabetes.”
Looking more closely at Merimbula 6.5 per cent of people living within the Merimbula postcode have diabetes and almost 90 per cent of those people live with type 2.
In the 2550 postcode covering the middle and northern part of the shire 5.2 per cent of the population has type 2 diabetes while in the 2551 postcode 7.8 per cent have type 2 diabetes.
“If you have an older demographic then the chances are there are a lot of residents with pre-diabetes,” Mr Eastwood said.
“Diabetes has a significant impact on quality of life and reduces life expectancy if not diagnosed in time and managed properly.
“Strong evidence shows that if diabetes is detected early, and treatment is optimal, then most of the complications can be prevented – potentially saving lives and billions in healthcare costs.”
It is estimated that half a million Australians are living with undiagnosed type 2 diabetes and that many people will live with type 2 diabetes for up to seven years before diagnosis; by that time, half of them will develop at least one serious diabetes-related complication.
“However the good news is that you can manage type 2 quite well as long as you know you have it,” Mr Eastwood said, adding there there was a newly approved test that could be incorporated as part of an annual check up.
Both types of diabetes greatly increase a person's risk for a range of serious complications.
Although monitoring and managing the disease can prevent complications, diabetes remains the leading cause of blindness and kidney failure.
It also continues to be a critical risk factor for heart disease, by a factor of four, Mr Eastwood said, stroke, and foot or leg amputations.
Diabetes NSW & ACT is calling on people over 40 to visit the organisation’s website and take a free diabetes risk assessment today at http://diabetesnsw.com.au/ausd-risk-tool