Undiagnosed type 2 diabetes serious risk

Five per cent of Australians aged over 40 have had a type 2 diabetes check in the past two years with risking vision loss, kidney damage, heart attacks, stroke and limb amputation.


New research was released at the start of National Diabetes Week as Diabetes Australia launches a new campaign, It’s About Time, to raise awareness of the seriousness of the type 2 diabetes, and urge 500,000 Australians who could have undiagnosed type 2 diabetes to get checked.


Diabetes Australia CEO Professor Greg Johnson said there was great concern about the length of time many people have silent, undiagnosed type 2 diabetes without it being diagnosed.


“Many people have type 2 diabetes for up to seven years before being diagnosed and during that time up to half begin to develop a diabetes-related complication,” Professor Johnson said.


“The tragedy is that much of the damage to the body that causes diabetes-related complications like vision loss, kidney damage, heart attack, stroke and limb amputation is preventable.


“AUSDRISK is a free, online risk assessment you can take to determine your risk of type 2 diabetes. Despite over 60% of Australians having risk factors for type 2 diabetes, the research shows only 5% of Australians over the age of 40 have done the type 2 diabetes risk assessment in past two years” he said.


The survey found:

  • Only 21% of Australians over the age of 40 had heard of the Australian Type 2 Diabetes Risk (AUSDRISK) Assessment;
  • Only 5% of Australians over the age of 40 had completed the AUSDRISK assessment in the past two years; and
  • More than 51% of people over the age of 18 were unable to name any serious diabetes-related complication despite type 2 diabetes being a leading cause of vision loss and blindness, limb amputation, kidney damage, heart attacks and stroke.

Diabetes NSW & ACT CEO Sturt Eastwood said, “The AUSDRISK check only takes about five minutes. If you take the check and get a high score, see your doctor so they can determine if you have type 2 diabetes.


“If you are diagnosed there is a lot of support and advice, and many effective treatments available to help you manage type 2 diabetes and reduce the risk of developing diabetes-related complications.”


Professor Lesley Campbell from St. Vincent’s Hospital said, “Unfortunately we are seeing people with type 2 diabetes diagnosed too late and the impact of late diagnosis and lack of treatment is filling our hospital beds,” Professor Campbell said.


“Diabetes is ranked in the top ten causes of death in Australia and is the leading cause of preventable blindness, limb amputation and end stage kidney disease.


“Much of this can be avoided with early diagnosis and optimal treatment.”


See the AUSDRISK diabetes risk calculator at https://www.diabetesaustralia.com.au/risk-calculator


9 July 2017.