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Diabetes on the rise in Ballarat

December 18, 2011
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THE number of people in Ballarat diagnosed with diabetes has more than doubled in the past 10 years.

The latest statistics from Diabetes Australia show almost five per cent of Ballarat’s population now has the disease, compared to just 2.5 per cent in 2001.

The data found the number of Local Government Areas considered diabetes hotspots had increased dramatically from only one in 2001 to 64 in 2011.

Diabetes Australia designates an area a hotspot when more than four per cent of its population has diabetes.

Five new cases of diabetes are diagnosed every week in Ballarat and, across the state, it’s a similar story.

Golden Plains Shire has recorded a 182.1 per cent increase in the number of people with diabetes, while Hepburn Shire has recorded a 156.6 per cent increase.

Moorabool Shire has recorded a 236.4 per cent increase on figures from 2001.

Ballarat credentialled diabetes educator Sheree Rennie said the statistics showed that diabetes was no longer a disease affecting just the older generation.

“I see kids as young as nine or 10, right through (to the elderly),” she said.

Ms Rennie said she believed both early intervention and family history played a part in the increasing number of people who were being diagnosed with diabetes. “One factor is family history, and we’re also testing earlier, so people who may have had their diabetes picked up many years later are having it picked up earlier,” she said.

“There has also been an increase in gestational diabetes – and that leads on to diabetes.”

Ms Rennie said complications of diabetes included heart problems, kidney problems, blindness, nerve damage, amputations and even mental illness.

“Diabetes is a chronic disease, and sometimes the acceptance of it can impair how the person manages their diabetes and how they think about their diabetes,” she said.

Ms Rennie said it was important for people to be proactive about their health, especially if they had a family history of the disease or had previously had gestational diabetes.

Article source: http://www.thecourier.com.au/news/local/news/general/diabetes-on-the-rise-in-ballarat/2396311.aspx?src=rss

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