Too much sugar makes symptoms worse
Too much sugar makes symptoms worse

Troubling trend in state’s diabetes crisis

QUEENSLAND'S diabetes toll keeps rising, with 10 times as many people now diagnosed with the lifestyle-related form of the condition - creating one of the biggest public healthcare challenges in the state.

Shock new data, exclusively obtained by The Courier-Mail, shows that 250,000 Queenslanders have diabetes, but fewer than 25,000 have type 1.

The vast majority of cases are type 2 diabetes, which can often be prevented by a healthy lifestyle.

The Diabetes Queensland figures show the numbers have risen from 2017 when the total diagnoses was 237,000 and in 2018 when it was 245,000.

It is estimated that a further 100,000 people have type 2 but have not yet been diagnosed.

The disease is one of the fastest growing chronic health conditions in the country.

Type 1 is an auto-immune condition and sufferers have no control over their diagnosis. But 40 per cent of those with type 2 also have little control and diet and lack of exercise did not play a role in their diagnosis - usually there is a problem with the pancreas.

 

Queensland Health has cracked down on sugary drinks to help ease diabetes epidemic. iStock
Queensland Health has cracked down on sugary drinks to help ease diabetes epidemic. iStock

 

"This is a big challenge for the whole community. That's why we've given more than $33.7 million to a Diabetes Queensland-led coalition to help tackle it," Health Minister Steven Miles said.

Diabetes Queensland chief executive Sturt Eastwood says the number of Queenslanders impacted by diabetes was grossly underestimated.

"One in four Queenslanders over the age of 25 lives with diabetes or pre-diabetes. If you add to that number the family, friends and carers who support them, you have a more accurate picture of the effects of this condition," Mr Eastwood said.

Queensland Health is pushing to put the brakes on the epidemic and the Diabetes Queensland-led coalition program My Health For Life program has seen almost 200,000 Queenslanders log on to assess their risk of developing chronic diseases like diabetes - a vital first step toward change.

"Nearly 14,000 of these people have signed up for a free, six month health program focusing on healthy eating and exercise, overseen by qualified health professionals; delivered face-to-face or via phone," Mr Miles told The Courier-Mail.

The state has removed sugary drinks from healthcare facilities by working with Hospital and Health Services to implement the Healthier Drinks Health Service Directive.

"We're increasing physical activity and healthy meal planning, preparation and provision by continuing to fund community programs including Heart Foundation Walking, 10,000 Steps, Jamie's Ministry of Food program and the Queensland Country Women's Association Country Kitchens program. And Queensland is developing the National Obesity Strategy for COAG," he said.

Queensland's Glenn Lewis, 68, was diagnosed with type 2 diabetes just over three years ago. He has been insulin dependent for 18 months.

"I was so shocked as I have always kept myself fit and had a reasonable diet. I always have regular health checks so it was caught early. People are judgmental when you say you have type 2 diabetes and they think it's your own fault. They say " Do you really have to eat that? But I am following a diet and doing all I can to keep things under control," Mr Lewis said.

 

Avoiding T2 diabetes

 

* 30mins moderate-intensity activity most days to be healthy

* 60-90 mins moderate-intensity activity most days to lose weight

* Fill up on vegetables and fruit

* Add lean protein to meals

* Drink water not sugary drinks

* Watch portion sizes of food

* Listen to hunger cues

* Stop eating when full

* Keep treat foods to minimum

* Restrict alcohol

* Five to 10 per cent weight loss can help