KNOW THE SIGNS: South West Hospital and Health Service Diabetes Clinical Nurse Consultant Kathy Snars.
KNOW THE SIGNS: South West Hospital and Health Service Diabetes Clinical Nurse Consultant Kathy Snars. contributed

National Diabetes week raises awareness of signs

NATIONAL Diabetes Week is July 14-20 - and South West clinicians are busy spreading the word about diabetes awareness and prevention.

South West Hospital and Health Service Diabetes Clinical Nurse Consultant Kathy Snars said this year's Diabetes Week theme - It's about time you took the time - was to raise awareness of the signs and symptoms of diabetes to increase earlier detection and promote action.

"Every day, about 62 Queenslanders are diagnosed with the condition, including two people with Type 1 diabetes and 60 people with Type 2 diabetes,” she said.

"Type 2 diabetes is the most prevalent form of diabetes. It can usually be managed by maintaining a healthy lifestyle, with medication when necessary.

"Type 1 diabetes is less common and must be managed with regular doses of insulin.”

Ms Snars said diabetes was currently the world's fastest-growing chronic disease and was already the sixth leading cause of death in Australia.

"That's why everyone should be aware of diabetes all year round and see your doctor or primary health care centre if you have any concerns or symptoms,” Ms Snars said.

"We also need to find ways to reduce both the overall rate of diabetes in our communities and the poor health people experience because of the complications of diabetes.

"Proper diet and exercise can help you avoid getting diabetes in the first place and can also help you manage diabetes if you do have it.”

Ms Snars said Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people were particularly at risk of developing diabetes and this genetic predisposition was compounded by a range of other factors such as poor nutrition, obesity and lack of exercise. "If you are an Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander person it is almost four times more likely that you will have diabetes than will your non-Indigenous neighbour,” she said.

"The other thing about diabetes in Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander families is that it occurs at a younger age in Indigenous families.

"It makes sense, therefore, for us to do everything possible to reduce the rate of diabetes in all our communities, as well as to assist those with diabetes to self-manage so that they do not develop complications.”



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