New Data on Insulin-dependent Diabetes Incidence in Western Victoria

Western Victorians are urged to embrace preventative health measures and maintain regular check-ups with their GPs following the release of the latest data on incidence of insulin-treated diabetes in Australia.

The Australian Institute of Health and Welfare, in its online report Incidence of insulin-treated diabetes, 2019 estimates that one in 20 (4.9 per cent or 1.2 million) Australians had diabetes in 2017–18.

The report also found that 11.5 people per 100 thousand people (age standardised) in western Victoria had insulin-dependent Type 1 Diabetes, compared to the Australian average of 12.8 per 100 thousand people (age standardised).

However, incidence of insulin-dependent Type 2 Diabetes was slightly higher in our region than the national average. In western Victoria, 4,710.4 people per 100 thousand (age standardised) were taking insulin for Type 2 Diabetes compared to 4,082.4 per 100 thousand nationally.

Western Victoria PHN CEO Rowena Clift said diabetes, as a chronic condition, was manageable but could lead to potential complications such as heart attack, stroke, kidney disease, limb amputation, depression, anxiety and blindness.

“While Type 1 Diabetes cannot be prevented, people can take measures to minimise the risk of Type 2 Diabetes including exercising, healthy eating, not smoking and managing their blood pressure and cholesterol,” Ms Clift said.

“I strongly encourage people who experience potential symptoms of diabetes to ensure they speak with their GP as soon as possible, especially those people who may have put off seeking help during this year’s lockdowns and restrictions,” she said.

According to Diabetes Australia, symptoms include being more thirsty than usual; passing more urine; having cuts that heal slowly; and persistent leg cramps.

“WVPHN will continue to work with our primary health care providers to ensure they are kept updated and have access to training on the latest developments in the prevention and management of diabetes. However, it is up to all of us to proactively ensure we do everything possible to maintain healthy lifestyles,” said Ms Clift.