Silent killer on the rise

March 06, 2018

DIABETES is set to become Victoria’s number one health issue, with almost 10,000 newly diagnosed cases in the past 12 months alone.

DIABETES is set to become Victoria’s number one health issue, with almost 10,000 newly diagnosed cases in the past 12 months alone.

And Campaspe and Gannawarra shires and Murray River Council are following this alarming state trend.

Statistics from Diabetes Australia show Campaspe Shire has a high percentage of National Diabetes Services Scheme (NDSS) registrants, with 6.4 per cent registered compared to the national rate of 5.4 per cent.

That’s more than 2600 locals living with diabetes in Campaspe.

Murray River Council also has a high rate of NDSS registrants at 6.8 per cent, while Gannawarra Shire tops the charts at a staggering 7.1 per cent.

And Diabetes Australia estimates there are another 125,000 Victorians with undiagnosed type 2 diabetes falling through the cracks.

Echuca Regional Health (ERH) health promotion officer Jacinta Masters said it wasn’t surprising so many people lived without a diagnosis of the ‘‘silent killer’’.

‘‘Many people see no signs or symptoms of type 2 diabetes prior to being diagnosed by a health professional,’’ she said.

As type 2 diabetes develops gradually over a lengthy period of time, Ms Masters said it was crucial to book regular check-ups and blood tests with a health professional.

She said there were a number of modifiable lifestyle factors that increased the risk of the condition.

‘‘(These include) high blood pressure, being overweight or obese, being physically inactive and having a poor diet or extra weight carried around the waist,’’ she said.

‘‘These modifiable lifestyle factors are areas the whole population can focus on to reduce the risk of many lifestyle diseases – not just type 2 diabetes.

‘‘There are also other non-modifiable factors which can’t be altered. These include a family history of diabetes, a history of gestational diabetes when pregnant or being diagnosed with polycystic ovarian syndrome.

‘‘The risk also increases as we age or if our cultural background is Aboriginal Torres Strait Islander, Pacific Islander, Indian or Chinese.’’

For those diagnosed, Ms Masters encouraged people around them to show support.

‘‘If you have a family member or friend with diabetes, learn how to support them. If you are a teacher or employer, ensure you provide a safe environment,’’ she said.

‘‘And if you are the one living with diabetes, it’s incredibly important you learn how to manage your diabetes.’’

For information or to book an appointment with ERH’s diabetes educators, contact the Hopwood Centre on 54855801.

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