World Diabetes Day a chance to recognise the work to do

EDUCATION KEY: Diabetes clinical nurse consultant Sandra Anstis says the impact diabetes has across the country is massive. Picture: Lachlan Bence.

EDUCATION KEY: Diabetes clinical nurse consultant Sandra Anstis says the impact diabetes has across the country is massive. Picture: Lachlan Bence.

A Ballarat diabetes educator is calling for more awareness with the condition the seventh leading cause of death in Australia. 

Ballarat Health Services clinical nurse consultant Sandra Anstis said the prevalence of type 1, type 2 and gestational diabetes were all on the rise.

“It’s one of the fastest growing conditions with at least 1.7 million people diagnosed (in Australia) and about 320,000 Victorians living with diabetes,” she said. 

“And it costs Victoria about $3.6 billion, so it is massive.”

Ms Anstis said about 30 per cent of hospital beds were taken up by people who had diabetes.

“It is a big part of health and the condition can certainly prolong your length of stay in hospital or cause you to come into hospital for treatment,” she said.

Ms Anstis said while some risk factors for type 2 diabetes could be modified such as inactivity and diet, other risk factors such as family history and ethnicity could not be avoided.

But people susceptible to diabetes could still be difficult to distinguish.

“There are some people that have diabetes that don’t necessarily fit that picture (of risk factors),” Ms Anstis said. 

“Diabetes does not discriminate with gender or age, it’s very wide spread.”

She said one in seven births were affected by diabetes and half of women who had gestational diabetes would develop type 2 diabetes post pregnancy within 10 years.  

World Diabetes Day falls on November 14 to recognise the birthday of Nobel Prize winner Frederick Banting, who discovered insulin. 

Ms Anstis said the day was a chance to reflect on the development of treatments and technologies since the discovery in 1921, but it was important to acknowledge what still needed to be done. 

“The discovery of insulin certainly changed the lives of many people with diabetes… and now we have much improved technologies to assist people to manage their condition,” Ms Anstis said.

“Technology does play a really important part. There are a number of apps available to assist with decisions people need to make for their diabetes, there are also the developments of glucose monitoring technologies and insulin pumps.”

Ballarat Health Services’ Diabetes Centre offers specialist services for all types of diabetes, with a team of six educators, an endocrinologist and dietitians.