Sydney icons turn blue this National Diabetes Week

Last night The Sydney Opera House and Luna Park turned on their blue lights – the international colour of diabetes – in celebration of National Diabetes Week. Diabetes NSW & ACT, together with Abbott and Novo Nordisk partnered in events around the Sydney Harbour to show support for all people living with diabetes.

Sturt Eastwood, CEO Diabetes NSW & ACT said: “We were incredibly excited to have Australia’s icons turn blue for diabetes. It’s such a strong sign of support for our community, especially during National Diabetes Week.”

“There are almost 435,000 people in NSW and the ACT living with diabetes. To save lives, this National Diabetes Week, we’re urging everyone to know the signs and symptoms of diabetes, to reduce the number of people being diagnosed too late,” said Sturt Eastwood.

A delayed diabetes diagnosis can have very serious consequences. Failure to detect the early signs of type 1 diabetes can be life threatening.

Mr Eastwood said, “Diabetes NSW & ACT data shows that one in five people with type 1 are only diagnosed after being admitted to hospital with diabetes ketoacidosis, an acute complication which can be fatal.”

Similarly, the signs and symptoms of type 2 are often be missed. It’s estimated that there are as many as 500,000 Australians currently living with type 2 diabetes who don’t know it.

“A delayed type 2 diagnosis can seriously impact a person’s health and their life. Type 2 diabetes is the leading cause of blindness, amputation, kidney damage and heart attack in Australia. The best way to avoid these critical health issues is early detection and management. That’s why we’re encouraging everyone over 40 to ask their doctor for a diabetes test at their next appointment,” said Mr Eastwood.

Managing any type of diabetes is challenging, for those living with type 1 the ongoing routine of daily insulin injections, regular blood glucose monitoring as well as diet, exercise and regular health checks can take its toll.

Tanya Ilkiw, who has been living with type 1 diabetes for 15 years, said: “Dealing with the day to day management of diabetes can be difficult. At times it feels like you can’t catch a break and you feel alone. But tonight we were part of something bigger, part of a community raising awareness about what it’s like to live with diabetes and that felt empowering. It is great to see Sydney lit up in blue for diabetes.”

Global healthcare company Abbott, who offer technology solutions to help people better manage their diabetes, sponsored the event. They recently launched the FreeStyle LibreLink App, enabling glucose monitoring through a smartphone synced to the FreeStyle Libre sensor.

“The convenience and ease that FreeStyle Libre offers is hard to top, but Abbott’s FreeStyle LibreLink app does exactly that. The app along with the FreeStyle Libre sensor blends in seamlessly with life’s routine. It makes glucose monitoring discreet and hassle-free, helping people with diabetes live their best lives possible. What better way to demonstrate this than by supporting the National Diabetes Week celebrations,” said Peter Chalikias, Regional Director, Abbott.

Novo Nordisk Australia, sponsored the lighting of the Sydney Opera House to help raise awareness about the significant health issue diabetes has become.

Jamshed Ahmed, Director – Clinical, Medical, Regulatory & PV said, “We were proud to show support for National Diabetes Week in such a visual way. At Novo Nordisk we believe that by working together with health professionals, policy makers, people living with diabetes and the broader community we can reduce the impact of diabetes. However, we need earlier diagnosis and improved access to relevant care.”

Mr Eastwood said, “Tonight was an incredibly special night for us and Diabetes NSW & ACT would like to thank everyone who helped us bring these events and activities together. We are extremely grateful to our friends at Abbott, Novo Nordisk, BridgeClimb Sydney, the Opera House, Luna Park and the Shangri-La for helping us to shine a light on the significant impact diabetes can have for individuals and our whole community.”

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