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South Western Melbourne Medicare Local (SWMML) is calling on the community to better inform themselves about the prevalence of type 2 diabetes and the preventative measures that can be taken to reduce the risk of developing the chronic condition that affects 4.3% of the Wyndham community.
100,000 Australians have developed diabetes in the past year and around 300 patients per day across Australia are diagnosed with type 2 diabetes and SWMML has increased its efforts to combat the growing prevalence of the condition through an 18 month Quality Improvement Program taken on board by three general practices within Hobsons Bay and Wyndham.
The program aims to improve health outcomes of patients suffering from diabetes by helping healthcare professionals better manage those with the condition, whilst proactively screening patients who may be at high-risk of developing the disease.
Local General Practitioner, Dr Nestor Fuertes encourages anyone with a family history of diabetes, or who is overweight to speak to their local GP and have their blood sugar levels checked.
“Type 2 diabetes is the most common form of diabetes, yet 60 per cent of type 2 diabetes is preventable. Changing lifestyle habits, eating healthy and maintaining a good diet, low in refined sugar, as well as staying active are known factors in reducing the risk of developing the condition.
“Around 3.2 million Australians are pre-diabetic so it’s important to speak to your GP and get your blood sugars checked, especially if you have a family history of diabetes, or are at high-risk of developing the illness. An early diagnosis of the condition will almost guarantee a better outcome in the long term,” said Dr Fuertes.
For patients diagnosed with type 2 diabetes, Dr Fuertes emphasises that an understanding of the illness and condition is integral in its management alongside the care by healthcare professionals.
“For patients diagnosed with the condition it’s important to understand that type 2 diabetes is a complex and progressive chronic condition that need not have complications. The patient is pivotal in managing the condition and when maintained correctly not only is the chance of dialysis or the amputation of limbs reduced, so is the economic burden placed on the wider community,” said Dr Fuertes.
To assess your risk of diabetes visit the Department of Health’s website http://www.health.gov.au/preventionoftype2diabetes and use the Diabetes Risk Assessment Tool (AUSDRISK). For more information about preventing and managing the condition speak to your local doctor.
 This figure is measured against the Victoria metropolitan average of 4.8% as reported in the Department of Health’s 2012 Local Government Area Profiles, 10th edn.