World Diabetes Day focuses on access to care

Sunday, 14 November 2021

Sunday 14 November, marks World Diabetes Day which this year is focusing on access to care for those living with the condition.

Sturt Eastwood, Chief Executive Officer for Diabetes NSW & ACT said “One in four Australians over the age of 25 lives with diabetes or pre-diabetes. If you add to that number the family, friends and carers who support them, you have a more accurate picture of the effect diabetes is having on the community.”

There are currently 454,000 people in NSW living with diabetes. More than 390,000 live with type 2 diabetes while a further 43,000 live with type 1 diabetes and 15,000 women are living with gestational diabetes.

Early diagnosis is important

Early diagnosis and treatment of diabetes is key to helping prevent or delay life-threatening complications. If type 1 diabetes is not detected early, it can be fatal. A delayed diagnosis of type 2 diabetes can lead to complications such as blindness, amputation, kidney or heart disease, and depression or anxiety.

“Knowing the signs of diabetes can help protect your family. That’s why we’re encouraging everyone to be on the lookout for symptoms such as sudden weight loss, tiredness or excessive thirst and urination. We’re also encouraging anyone over 40 to include a diabetes test in their annual check-up,” said Mr Eastwood.

Impact of COVID on medical appointments

Last month Diabetes NSW & ACT ran an online poll to understand if COVID had an impact on people being able to keep regular medical appointments. About one in four respondents indicated that COVID had resulted in missed appointments with an Allied Healthcare professional like their Diabetes Educator, podiatrist or dietitian. A further 10% said it impacted GP or specialist follow up.

Annual Cycle of Care

Mr Eastwood said “If you’re living with any kind of diabetes, regular health checks can help reduce the risk of developing serious complications. That’s why this World Diabetes Day, we’re asking people to review their diabetes Annual Cycle of Care to make sure their health is on track.”

Some of the key health checks covered by the Annual Cycle of Care include cholesterol, blood pressure, HbA1c, feet, eyes, kidneys and diabetes medications.

“If COVID has stopped you from keeping all your regular appointments now is the time to reconnect with your health care team to make sure you are as well and healthy as you can be,” said Mr Eastwood.

“People may not be aware that they can access up to five allied health referrals each year through the Medicare system. So we’d encourage people living with diabetes to talk to their GP about their eligibility and ask for the referrals they need to support their health.” he said.

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