A new national plan to deal with the crisis was released on Sunday.
It is hoped that the plan will help guide the health response to the “silent pandemic” over the next decade.
“As a nation, we have been very concerned about the impact and risks of COVID – meanwhile the serious effects of the growing diabetes epidemic have continued,” said Greg Johnson, head of Diabetes Australia.
Diabetes is one of the most significant challenges currently facing Australia’s healthcare system.
Thousands of undiagnosed cases
The federal government’s National Diabetes Strategy 2021-2030 outlines key areas, including prevention, early detection, management and care, that need to be addressed more urgently in the next decade.
The strategy aims to reduce the incidence and incidence of the disease, especially in populations overrepresented in the data.
“Diabetes has a significant, and often preventable, impact on the health and well-being of the Australian population,” the strategy paper said.
“Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders experience a disproportionate share of the burden of diabetes.
“There are several other groups for which efforts should be prioritized because of their high risk of diabetes. These include people from South Asia, North Africa and the Middle East, Oceania (excluding Australia), and southern and eastern Europe.”
More than 1.4 million people living with known, diagnosed diabetes are registered with the National Diabetes Service Scheme.
In addition, there are about 500,000 Australians with silent, undiagnosed type two diabetes.
Two million more have pre-diabetes and are at high risk of developing type two diabetes in the coming years.
“We are pleased that the new strategy highlights key issues that require special attention, including diabetes in the elderly, prevention of type two diabetes and diabetes in First Nations communities,” said Prof Johnson.
Up to 20 per cent of Australia’s elderly caregivers suffer from diabetes, and many do not receive the special care they need.
Educational programs needed to prevent and delay the onset of diabetes
Professor Johnson said 58 percent of type two diabetes cases can be prevented or delayed and educational programs are urgently needed.
“Diabetes is particularly devastating for Australians and First Nations communities and it is a major contributor to the gap in life expectancy between Indigenous and non-Indigenous Australians,” he said.
“The gap is not closing and we hope the new strategy will lead to important steps and stronger action.”
Federal Minister of Health and Elderly Care Greg Hunt released the plan on World Diabetes Day.
November 14 is also the 100th anniversary of the discovery of insulin, one of the most important discoveries in medical history.
Insulin has changed the lives of people with diabetes and saved millions of lives around the world.
Before insulin, children with type one diabetes often did not live beyond the age of five.
Contemporary insulins come in a wide range of formats that are highly tailored to the individual who requires treatment by diabetes experts.