Within two years, current trends suggest that diabetes will overtake heart disease as the leading burden of disease in Australia.
Burden of disease is a measure used to assess how much a disease or injury impacts the healthcare system, quality of health and life, effect on the budget and repercussions to family and society on the whole.
The latest statistics from Diabetes Australia Victoria, show that last year, 74 Victorians were newly diagnosed with diabetes each day. Applied nationally (based on population percentage), this figure comes out to 299 new cases every day or 109,135 for the year.
Figures also show that the number of people living with diabetes in Victoria has just passed the critical mark of 300,000, with a further 500,000 at high risk of developing type 2 diabetes.
Type 1 diabetes – for which there is no cure – makes up just 10 per cent of all cases, whilst Type 2 diabetes is different because “We do know from evidence that regular physical activity and a healthy diet can reduce the chances of people being diagnosed with type 2 diabetes by about 60 per cent,” according to Diabetes Australia Victoria Chief Executive, Craig Bennett.
In 1989 the rate of diabetes was at manageable levels in Australia, but since the population has started to eat less healthily and exercise less, this rate has almost tripled. In 2011–12, 4.2 per cent of Australians have diabetes. The statistics are staggering and the trends suggest that we could be heading to upwards of five per cent of the population being affected by 2020.
Diabetes can also lead to much worse health issues down the road. In 2007–08, data showed that of the 520,000 people with diabetes, 58 per cent also had heart disease, while 10.7 per cent had suffered vision loss. Lower limb amputation is also a major risk factor.
As our nation grows larger, so will the serious effects of diabetes – both in the homes of our loved ones, and in the health budgets handed down by future governments.
What do you think? Does more need to be done to increase the frequency of exercise and to reduce unhealthy food consumption in this country? Do you have diabetes? How does it affect your day-to-day life?