More Australians are being
hospitalised each year for diabetes complications that could
potentially be avoided by earlier diagnosis and better
The rate of potentially preventable hospitalisations due to
diabetes complications has risen 4% between 2017-18 in Australia,
while the rate of hospitalisations for other chronic conditions has
decreased.[i] This means Australians with diabetes aren't asking
for, or getting, the help they need, leading to hospitalisations
which could have been avoided with earlier treatment.
Sturt Eastwood, CEO, Diabetes Queensland, said this National Diabetes Week
(July 14-20) he wants all Australians to know the symptoms of
diabetes to curb unnecessary hospitalisations and avoid potentially
"We're not identifying the symptoms in time, and this is putting
people at risk of complications including blindness, amputation,
kidney damage, heart attack and stroke," Mr Eastwood said.
A report by the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare
showed that 10,464 potentially preventable hospitalisations in
Queensland had led to more than 49,000 days in hospital beds due to
diabetes complications throughout the year.[ii]
"Once you're diagnosed, both type 1 and type 2 diabetes need to
be managed daily to reduce the risk of complications, improve
quality of life and increase life expectancy. Neither form of the
condition can be ignored."
diabetes is an auto-immune condition that attacks the cells in
the pancreas that produce insulin. It cannot be prevented. It
can occur at any age but is most frequently diagnosed in children
and young adults. Once the condition has developed, it requires
urgent medical treatment and daily insulin.
diabetes, which tends to develop progressively, can be delayed
or prevented in nearly 60 per cent of cases through healthy eating
and a more active lifestyle.
Mr Eastwood said diabetes is more widespread than most people
know. "One in four Australian adults over the age of 25 lives with
diabetes or pre-diabetes. If it's not you, it's someone you know,"
Symptoms for type 1 can be remembered by the
- Toilet - are you going to the toilet a lot?
- Thirsty - do you have an unquenchable thirst?
- Tired - are you more tired than usual?
- Thinner - have you recently lost a lot of weight?
Type 2 diabetes, known as the 'silent condition', is often
harder to diagnose because the symptoms may remain mild for years,
and people may associate changes in their health with getting
Symptoms of type 2 diabetes can include
- Frequent urination
- Increased thirst
- Always feeling hungry
- Feeling very tired
- Blurry vision
- Slow healing of cuts and wounds
- Numbness or pain in hands or feet
Mr Eastwood said the increase in the rates of preventable
hospitalisations because of diabetes complications could in part be
due to people underestimating the effects of untreated type 2
"The sooner you're diagnosed, the sooner you can learn how to
manage your condition and delay or prevent complications. The next
time you're at the GP, ask them to check for diabetes. Make a
diabetes test part of your annual GP checkup," Mr Eastwood
Queenslanders with prediabetes and other risk factors for
type 2 diabetes can take advantage of the free, State
Government-funded healthy lifestyle program My health for life. The
program has helped thousands of Queenslanders get their health back
on track and reduce their risk of type 2 diabetes, heart disease
and stroke. To find out more about the program, or to take the
online health check, visit myhealthforlife.com.au.
[i] The Australian Institute of Health and Welfare (AIHW)
Admitted patient care 2017-18 report.
[ii] The Australian Institute of Health and Welfare (AIHW)
Potentially preventable hospitalisations in Australia by small
geographic areas report.