MORE than 125,000 Victorians do not realise they are living with type two diabetes.
This has prompted the state and national diabetes support bodies to get back to basics in a bid for people to better understand and prevent the disease this National Diabetes Week.
About four per cent of Ballarat adults, aged 25-64, are living with one form of diabetes, according to the latest figures from the Australian Health Policy Collaboration. This is the same rate as neighbouring regional city Bendigo while in Ararat, about 3.6 per cent of adults have diabetes.
Diabetes is one of the top 10 direct causes of death for Ballarat males, as the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare's Mortality Over Regions and Time report showed this week. People living with diabetes are also at a higher risk of heart disease and stroke - both in the top three killers of Ballarat people.
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Diabetes Victoria chief executive officer Craig Bennett said diabetes could affect people from all backgrounds and it was important to break the stigma and misconceptions surrounding the disease to better promote awareness.
More than 640 children and adults are hospitalised each year nationwide for missed signs of type one diabetes. This is an auto-immune condition with no clear reason for how it develops. There are no preventative measure. Key warning signs are: going to the toilet more, tiredness, thirst and thinness, or unexplained weight loss.
Diabetes Australia is urging people to make "me time" and get checked for type two diabetes with their general practitioner. Type two diabetes tends to be associated with modifiable lifestyle factors but can take up to seven years to diagnose. Type two is progressive and can be managed with physical exercise, diet and losing weight. Risk increases with age.
The third type of diabetes is gestational.
"Each type of diabetes has different underlying causes and may be best managed with different strategies," Mr Bennett said. "Once you develop diabetes, you will have to manage the condition every day for the rest of your life. There is a great need to raise awareness about this, in particular."
Ballarat Community Health and Ballarat Health Services both offer diabetes education services for all types of diabetes. Both are part of multidisciplinary teams.
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