July 8 to 14 is National Diabetes Week, and this year, the message is for western Sydney residents to visit their GP and get a diabetes test.
It is estimated that around 500,000 Australians are living with undiagnosed diabetes. This is a problem because when left untreated, diabetes can cause serious health issues leading to blindness, kidney damage, limb amputation and heart attacks.
The good news is that most cases of type 2 diabetes are preventable, and can be well-managed if caught early.
At risk individuals over 18 years are entitled to one free diabetes test per year under Medicare, so make sure you ask your doctor next time you are in for a check-up. It is a simple blood test that can be sent to your local pathology centre.
The sooner someone is diagnosed with diabetes, the easier it is to manage and the healthier they will be.
Testing will also let your doctor know whether you are at a higher risk of developing diabetes, and help you take steps to prevent it.
Getting tested is particularly important for western Sydney residents because we live in a diabetes hotspot. The number of western Sydney residents with diabetes is two to three times higher than in other parts of Sydney.
This is due to a number of factors including higher rates of obesity, unhealthy eating, lower physical activity and higher rates of smoking.
While western Sydney is a diabetes hotspot, there are a number of things that can be done to prevent type 2 diabetes.
Keeping a healthy weight by eating well and exercising regularly are good first steps to preventing diabetes. In fact, an average weight loss of 2kg can reduce the risk of developing type 2 diabetes by 30 per cent.
It’s time for western Sydney to get tested this National Diabetes Week. The free test will either give you piece of mind, or ensure you get the medical support you need.
For further information call Diabetes NSW on 1300 342 238 or visit diabetesnsw.com.au
- Western Sydney Regional Organisation of Councils (WSROC)