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Wollongong diabetes on the rise

NEW research has mapped the direct relationship between diabetes and Australia’s current biggest killer, heart disease.

These new local statistics have been released ahead of Diabetes Awareness Week which runs from July 8 to 14, and comes as Wollongong is ranked 53rd from 132 local government areas with the fastest growing rates of diabetes in NSW.

In Wollongong alone, there has been a significant increase of diabetes amongst the local community to 6.06 per cent from 2006 – 2011, with an alarming 6.54 per cent of people living with cardiovascular disease. The Australian Diabetes Council, says the government and community must act together to curb the impact of the disease which has been growing at a rate of 8 per cent per annum across NSW since the year 2000.

Diabetes is Australia’s fastest growing chronic disease with one person diagnosed every five minutes.

Australian Diabetes Council CEO Nicola Stokes says the government and community must act together to curb the impact of the disease which has been growing at a rate of 8 per cent per annum across NSW since the year 2000.

“An estimated 290 Australians are diagnosed with diabetes ever day” Ms Stokes said.

By 2016 it is predicted that diabetes will become the major cause of morbidity and mortality in Australia.

Cardiovascular disease which includes heart disease, is Australia’s biggest killer and diabetes is a major contributor.  New research – mapping the prevalence of diabetes and cardiovascular disease across NSW – shows a direct correlation between the two.

Australian Diabetes Council’s research, based on the latest population health surveys and newly released census data, shows areas with higher rates of diabetes are also areas with some of the highest rates of cardiovascular disease.  All of the top 10 areas where diabetes and cardiovascular disease rates are highest are in regional Australia.

“Looking after your heart is our key message to the community this Diabetes Awareness Week,” Ms Stokes said.

“Our new data clearly shows the direct relationship between diabetes and heart disease in our towns and suburbs, showing the need to align services available in these areas, but also acting as a warning sign to each individual to pay attention to their own risks and health.

“Studies have shown that people with diabetes are two to four times more likely to be impacted by cardiovascular disease, and an American study found that diabetes shortened the life expectancy of a forty year old with diabetes by eight years in comparison to those without diabetes.  We have to act together make sure people with diabetes live long and healthy lives, and that the alarming increase of diabetes in the community is prevented,” says Ms Stokes.

“While there is no cure for diabetes, up to 60 per cent of type 2 cases can be prevented by making some simple lifestyle changes.”

Australian Diabetes Council is launching a new diabetes and heart health booklet in Diabetes Awareness Week from July 9:  www.australiandiabetescouncil.com

For more information about diabetes and Diabetes Awareness Week activities, visit www.australiandiabetescouncil.com

About Mick Roberts

A newspaper journalist, writer and local historian, Mick Roberts specialises in Australian cultural history, particularly associated with the Australian hotel and liquor industry. Mick has had an interest in revealing the colourful story of pubs, inns and associated industries in the Sydney and Illawarra regions of NSW for over 30 years. He is currently working on a comprehensive history of the hotel and liquor industry in the Illawarra region of NSW. Besides authoring a number of history books, Mick has owned and operated several community newspapers. He was one time editor of the Wollongong Northern News, The Bulli Times, The Northern Times, The Northern Leader and The Local - all located in the Wollongong region. As a journalist he has worked for Rural Press, Cumberland (News Limted), Sydney based, City News, and is now with Torch Publications.

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