Home' Australian Pharmacist : Australian Pharmacist August 2013 Contents 18 Australian Pharmacist August 2013 I ©Pharmaceutical Society of Australia Ltd.
Diabetes a 21st Century
By Peter Waterman
In Australia 280 people develop diabetes
The extent of diabetes worldwide was
highlighted in Canberra last month
during a speech by Sir Michael Hirst,
International Diabetes Federation
President, during which he said that the
disease was responsible for 4.8 million
deaths a year.
'The impact of diabetes is enormous,'
Sir Michael said.
'Every four seconds someone is
diagnosed with diabetes and there is
a death from the disease every eight
seconds. And every 23 seconds someone
loses a limb because of diabetes.'
Sir Michael said diabetes was a 21st
Century pandemic affecting more than
370 million people worldwide.
'In 2012 the worldwide cost of diabetes
was estimated at $US471 billion and there
were 4.8 million diabetes related deaths
worldwide. The Western Pacific region has
the highest prevalence of any region in
the world. There are 92 million people in
China with diabetes and over 160 million
in the Western Pacific region,' he said.
'All countries need to have their own
national strategies to address this
challenge and prevent diabetes from
developing and prevent the serious
complications. Australia is not alone
Sir Michael was speaking at the launch
of the National Diabetes Strategy and
Action Plan at which Diabetes Australia
CEO Professor Greg Johnson said diabetes
would become the number one burden of
disease in Australia in the next five years.
'Type 2 diabetes currently costs the
Australian community $14.6 billion
a year. This will double to $30 billion
in 12 years if we don't adopt stronger
approaches to preventing diabetes and
its complications,' Professor Johnson said.
'At least 1.5 million Australians
have diabetes and 280 Australians
develop diabetes every day -- nearly
100,000 Australians developed diabetes
in the past year.'
Professor Johnson said all types of
diabetes -- type 1, type 2 and gestational
diabetes -- were increasing in prevalence
and it was time for a new national
strategy and action plan which the
incoming government should develop
'There is no such thing as "mild" diabetes.
All types of diabetes are serious and
can lead to complications. For example
heart attacks and strokes kill people with
diabetes early and are four times more
likely in people with diabetes.' He said.
Professor Paul Zimmet, a member of the
expert committee which helped prepare
the new national strategy for Diabetes
Australia set out the five key goals:
• Prevent complications -- through
optimal management and earlier
• Prevent more people from developing
type 2 diabetes
• Reduce the impact of diabetes in
pregnancy for women and children
• Reduce the impact of diabetes on
• Strengthen prevention through
knowledge and evidence.
'Diabetes Australia is calling for national
targets for the primary care system,
hospitals and diabetes centres to focus on
prevention of complications -- and better
access to treatments and technologies
to support prevention of complications
and burden of diabetes,' Professor
Professor Stephen Colagiuri, a member
of the expert committee, spoke of the
need for a National Diabetes Prevention
Program as part of the National Diabetes
Strategy that should be financially
supported by all governments, health
insurers, employers and workers
compensation insurers -- to achieve
the benefits of reduced cost and
'There are over two million people with
prediabetes and at high risk. Prevention
of type 2 diabetes in this population
is proven, possible and powerful
-- Australia needs to put in place a
national prevention program,' Professor
The growing impact on women and
children of gestational diabetes where
more than 20,000 women were affected
each year and both mother and children
had increased health risks was addressed
in a specific goal.
The impact of diabetes on Aboriginal and
Torres Strait Islander people where there
is much higher risk of getting diabetes
and higher rates of complications is
addressed in a specific goal.
The strategy also calls for a National
Diabetes Commission to be established to
monitor achievements against a national
strategy and provide public transparency.
Professor Johnson said discrimination
needed to be addressed along with
ensuring access to new treatments and
technologies including continuous
glucose monitoring for people at high
risk. The growing social and economic
burden of diabetes underscored the
importance of a national approach
to early detection, management and
prevention of diabetes.
'Australia has been an international leader
in diabetes. We were the first country
in the world to introduce universal,
government-supported assistance for
self-monitoring and self-management
of diabetes (National Diabetes Services
Scheme 1987),' he said.
'We want to see leadership from an
incoming government to take this
National Diabetes Strategy and Action
Plan, and develop and implement it over
Diabetes Australia CEO Professor Greg Johnson speaking
at the launch of the National Diabetes Strategy and
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