Most Australians do not know what the major symptoms of diabetes are, according to alarming new research.
Despite being the fastest growing disease in Australia, a survey commissioned by Medibank 24/7 Health Advice Line found that 97% of people struggle with recognising the major diabetes symptoms. They are also unaware of how many types of the disease there are.
Nearly 20% of respondents did not recognise that obesity is a major risk factor for type 2 diabetes, while two thirds were unaware that development of the metabolic condition can be slowed through better diet and exercise.
Nicola Stokes, CEO of the Australian Diabetes Council (ADC), said key symptoms of type 1 diabetes, such as excessive thirst, are well-recognised by Australians, but added that people find it harder spotting some symptoms of type 2 diabetes like fatigue.
She said the government should take notice of these figures, especially as the survey shows that most Australians only lack awareness when it comes to diabetes .
“This is a cry for help that I think the government really needs to listen to,” Ms Stokes said. “They want the tools to manage their own condition but what they really want is to help their children, (who may be) predisposed to developing diabetes.”
She also called for more resources to be directed towards health programs aimed at preventing type 2 diabetes, and warned that if the growing costs of treating the disease and its complications are not contained, “there won’t be a health budget for anything else”.
According to Diabetes Australia, more than 1.5 million Australians have some type of diabetes, and 280 new cases are diagnosed each day.

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