Queenslanders encouraged to stem the rising tide of diabetes

Published Thursday, 15 November, 2018 at 03:52 PM

Minister for Health and Minister for Ambulance Services
The Honourable Steven Miles

Queenslanders are being urged to make healthy choices, with thousands of new cases of diabetes registered in the state in the 12 months to June 2018.

Minister for Health and Ambulance Services Steven Miles said State Members of Parliament got their health checked by Diabetes Queensland to off the back of World Diabetes Day yesterday.

Minister Miles said it was an opportunity to raise awareness of the warning signs of diabetes, which could lead to lifelong complications if left undiagnosed or poorly managed.

“More than 242,000 Queenslanders are identified through the National Diabetes Services Scheme as having diabetes, which includes at least 21,700 new cases registered in the 12 months to June 2018 alone,” Mr Miles said.

“However, the real prevalence of diabetes in Queensland is likely to be even higher as not all cases are registered and undiagnosed cases must also be taken into account.”

Based on blood measurement (fasting plasma glucose) data from 2011-12, about 405,000 Queensland adults are estimated to have diabetes or be at risk of developing it in 2018.

Mr Miles said complications of diabetes were a leading cause preventable hospitalisations and impacted significantly on a person’s long-term health and wellbeing.

“Of the registered cases of diabetes in Queensland, 87 per cent of these are Type 2.  Importantly, many cases of Type 2 diabetes can be prevented by adopting a healthy lifestyle,” he said.

“Diabetes is associated with serious health complications and reduced life expectancy but there are some simple steps that Queenslanders can take to reduce their risk. These include maintaining a healthy weight, participating in regular physical activity, and eating a well-balanced diet.”

The theme of 2018 World Diabetes Day - The Family and Diabetes - promotes the role of the family in the management, care, prevention and education of diabetes.

Queensland Health Nurse Practitioner Diabetes Jennifer Abelsaid all families were potentially affected by diabetes, so awareness of the signs, symptoms and risk factors were vital to help detect it early.

“This includes being aware that obesity is a major risk factor for developing Type 2 diabetes and of the common warning signs, which may include increased thirst and hunger, fatigue, frequent urination, unexplained weight loss, blurred vision or headaches,” Ms Abel said.

The Queensland Government is committed to reducing chronic diseases such as diabetes and funds the My health for life program, which is helping to thousands of Queenslanders who are at risk of chronic diseases to get their health back on track.

My health for life program director Lyn Hamill said World Diabetes Day provided the perfect opportunity to reflect on the importance of prevention to stem the rising tide of Type 2 diabetes.

“People are often unaware how their lifestyle impacts on their overall risk of developing conditions such as high blood pressure, cholesterol, type diabetes, heart disease and stroke,” she said.

“Suddenly they need to make changes but need support and direction to know where to start. Our experience in the past two years rolling out My health for life is that sustained support is key to behaviour change and we need to be innovative in our approach for it to resonate with people.’’  

Ms Hamill said that to date, more than 7,500 Queenslanders had enrolled in the program and more than 115,000 had taken part in health checks at events or online – and these figures were steadily increasing. For more information on My health for life visit www.myhealthforlife.com.au.




Media contact: Katharine Wright 0428 957 903