Half-a-million Australians could have undiagnosed type 2 diabetes

Richard Laycock 10 July 2017

Doctore testing older patient for diabetes

Diabetes Australia urges 500,000 Australians to get diabetes risk check.

Only 5% of Australians aged over 40 have had a type 2 diabetes check in the last two years, according to research from Diabetes Australia.

The survey also found that despite type 2 diabetes being a leading cause of heart attacks, kidney damage, limb amputation, stroke and vision loss, over half (51%) of those surveyed were unable to name a diabetes-related complication.

“It’s about time we detected silent undiagnosed type 2 diabetes. Many people have type 2 diabetes for up to seven years before being diagnosed and during that time up to half begin to develop a diabetes-related complication,” Diabetes Australia CEO Professor Greg Johnson said.

More than 60% of Australians are at risk of developing type 2 diabetes but many people are not getting diagnosed early enough.

“The tragedy is that much of the damage to the body that causes diabetes-related complications like vision loss, kidney damage, heart attack, stroke and limb amputation is preventable," said Professor Johnson.

To aid in the early detection of type 2 diabetes, Stewart Eastwood the Diabetes NSW and ACT CEO said that people need to take advantage of the online risk assessment tool AUSDRISK.

“The AUSDRISK check only takes about five minutes. If you take the check and get a high score, see your doctor so they can determine if you have type 2 diabetes," Eastwood said.

The release of the survey data was timed to coincide with the start of National Diabetes Week.

Type 2 diabetes is a growing issue not only in Australia but around the world. A WHO report in April last year found that there are roughly 422 million people afflicted with the condition worldwide.

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