Residents urged to get checked during National Diabetes Week
MARION Viles is one of about 3500 people in the Gladstone region who has been diagnosed with diabetes.
Of those, more than 3000 people live with type 2 in the region.
"It was a bit of a shock as there is no history of diabetes in our family,” Mrs Viles said.
"It was the last thing I ever went to the doctors thinking I had, but it was worth going.”
This National Diabetes Week, which runs until Saturday, Mrs Viles wants others to know the importance of going to the doctor if you are unsure of your symptoms.
Mrs Viles was diagnosed about 10 years ago and she said she was experiencing symptoms for about two years, but never connected the dots.
"I was suffering depression but I didn't associate it with diabetes because nobody in the family had ever had it,” Mrs Viles said.
"At that time, when you don't understand it, it's scary.”
Mrs Viles said she felt lethargic, depressed and had picked up some weight but otherwise didn't recall having any other symptoms.
Now, she is able to manage the disease with diet control and exercise.
"It isn't easy, and after a time you learn how your body feels,” Mrs Viles said.
"While I am not feeling stressed and a lot fitter and healthier, my sugar levels remain constant.”
Diabetes Queensland CEO Sturt Eastwood said he wanted all Queenslanders to know the symptoms of diabetes to avoid potentially life-changing complications.
"We're concerned there's a high number of people in regional Queensland who have already developed the condition but haven't been diagnosed yet,” Mr Eastwood said.
"They're often the people most at risk of getting complications because it is not being managed properly.
"Once you're diagnosed, both type 1 and type 2 diabetes need to be managed daily to reduce the risk of complications and help you live a long and healthy life. Diabetes in any shape or form should never be ignored.”
Symptoms of type 2 diabetes can include frequent urination, increased thirst, constant hunger, fatigue, blurry vision, slow healing of cuts and wounds, and numbness or pain in hands or feet. In the early stages, often type 2 diabetics show no symptoms.
Symptoms of type 1 diabetes can include urination, thirst, fatigue and a loss of weight.
Mrs Viles said it was important that people were aware of the symptoms of diabetes.
"People might think 'I'm not feeling really good, I've put on all this extra weight around my midriff ... maybe I should just go and have a test,” she said.
"If anyone is just feeling off, it's worth a check.”