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.
There are 407,725 people in NSW are living with diabetes and diagnoses are on the rise, up 13% compared to last year. There are a further 17,000 people living in the ACT with diabetes.
Diabetes is a silent killer and an unresolved public health burden – one that costs Australian tax payers over $14 billion each year, a figure Diabetes NSW & ACT CEO Sturt Eastwood says will continue to rise without a bigger focus on early detection and prevention.
“Diabetes has a significant impact on quality of life and reduces life expectancy if not diagnosed in time and managed properly,” says Sturt.
“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. 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.
Data also shows that one in five people with undiagnosed type 1 diabetes only find out about their condition after a hospital admission with diabetes ketoacidosis. Children and adolescents accounted for half of the 3,186 Australians diagnosed with type 1 diabetes last year.
Delays in diagnosis put thousands of Australians at risk of life‐threatening health complications including:
- Eye damage leading to vision impairment and blindness
- Kidney damage leading to kidney failure and dialysis
- Nerve and blood vessel damage leading to foot ulcers and amputations
- Vascular damage leading the heart attacks and strokes.
Diabetes doesn’t discriminate. “The next person diagnosed could be your mum or dad, your wife or husband or your sister or your brother,” says Sturt. “Earlier detection of diabetes leads to better prevention of serious health complications.”