Do you have undiagnosed diabetes?

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IN the midst of National Diabetes Week (13 – 19 July 2014), ACT Medicare Local (ACTML) is encouraging Canberrans to see their local family doctor if they suspect they may be at risk for diabetes as many people have no symptoms and have undiagnosed Type 2 diabetes.

Around 25% of people with Type 2 diabetes do not know they have it, according to a recent report by the COAG Reform Council.

ACTML Chair Dr Rashmi Sharma said in some cases people with undiagnosed Type 2 diabetes won’t have any symptoms, so it’s important to know the risk factors.

“Often there are no symptoms, so I urge anyone who has risk factors including family history, high blood pressure, abnormal cholesterol and excess weight to see their GP if they suspect they may have or be at risk of getting diabetes,” Rashmi said.

For people who do have symptoms of Type 2 diabetes they may include excessive thirst and urination, fatigue, irritability, blurred vision, tingling or numbness in their feet.

It’s important to be diagnosed early to reduce associated health problems later in life.

“Undiagnosed or poorly managed diabetes can lead to serious health problems. Complications from Type 2 diabetes can result in diabetes-related complications, such as kidney damage, eye damage, nerve damage or the risk of foot ulcers,” said Dr Sharma.

Diabetes is the world’s fastest growing chronic disease. ACTML’s “ACT Population Health Commissioning Atlas” indicates that by 2020 there will be a 50% increase of diabetes incidence in the ACT. Being overweight or obese is linked to later developing health conditions such as diabetes.

“The good news is that up to 60% of cases of Type 2 diabetes can be prevented through lifestyle changes. GPs can help patients reduce their risk of developing diabetes by working with them to improve their current diet and exercise regime,” said Dr Sharma.

To assist people with diabetes in the ACT, ACTML is working with general practice to provide education and resources to assist people with diabetes to achieve their annual cycle of care. The project is also helping to increase capacity within the ACT Diabetes Service for those people with more complex diabetes treatment needs.

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