Diabetes stats

Type 1 and type 2 diabetes are lifelong conditions that can affect every part of an individual’s life.  

Type 2 diabetes is Australia’s fastest growing chronic condition. Australia also has one of the highest rates of type 1 diabetes in the world.  

Diabetes in Australia

  • 1.8 million Australians are living with diabetes – this includes 1.3 million people who have been diagnosed and an estimated 500,000 cases of undiagnosed type 2 diabetes 
  • Every five minutes someone is diagnosed with diabetes, which adds up to almost 300 people every day 
  • One in four adults over the age of 25 is living with either diabetes or pre-diabetes 
  • Diabetes is the seventh most common cause of death by disease in Australia 
  • Diabetes costs the Australian economy $14 billion every year. 

Type 1 diabetes

  • 119,000 Australians are currently living with type 1 diabetes 
  • Represents 10 to 15 per cent of all cases of diabetes and is increasing each year 
  • Occurs when the cells of the pancreas are destroyed by the body’s immune system, meaning that the body is unable to produce any insulin 
  • Requires treatment with ongoing insulin therapy 
  • Is not caused by lifestyle factors and has no known cause or cure 
  • Is often diagnosed in childhood, although it can occur at any age. 

Type 2 diabetes

  • 1.3 million Australians are currently living with type 2 diabetes 
  • Represents 85 to 90 per cent of all cases of diabetes and is increasing each year 
  • Occurs when the pancreas is not producing enough insulin, or when the insulin that is produced is not working effectively 
  • Risk factors include age, family history, ethnicity and lifestyle factors such as an unhealthy diet and lack of physical activity 
  • 58 per cent of all cases of type 2 diabetes can be delayed or prevented with changes to diet and lifestyle. 

Gestational Diabetes

  • Affects one in seven pregnancies 
  • Is the fastest growing type of diabetes in Australia 
  • Occurs during pregnancy and usually goes away after the baby is born 
  • Women who have had gestational diabetes are at greater risk of developing type 2 diabetes later in life 
  • Risk factors include age, ethnicity and being above a healthy weight range when pregnant 
  • Gestational diabetes may also occur in women with no known risk factors and should be tested for at 24–28 weeks of pregnancy. 

Understanding the different types of diabetes can help you understand the symptoms and treatment options available. People can live well with diabetes, although there is currently no cure.   

Reference: NDSS, December 2019 

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