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Expert expects up to 1.5 mln Australians have diabetes

English.news.cn   2011-09-16 20:45:29

CANBERRA, Sept. 16 (Xinhua) -- Diabetes Australia's CEO Lewis Kaplan said on Friday he estimates as many as 700,000 undiagnosed Australians are living with diabetes, which could take the total of those with type two diabetes to around 1.5 million.

Australian Bureau of Statistics on Friday released a figure indicating 800,000 Australians have diabetes, but Kaplan said he believed the diagnosis number was much higher.

"For every person with type two diabetes, it's understood by the scientific community at least, that there is another person with type two diabetes in the community undiagnosed," he told Australia Associated Press on Friday.

He said part of the problem of undiagnosed diabetes patients was that many people with the condition only became aware of it when they developed severe complications.

"They start losing their sight. They start getting sores on their feet that don't heal, he said. "They develop a series of complications that cause them to eventually go to the doctor."

Kaplan also said he was not surprised by ABS figures that show those living in disadvantaged areas were twice as likely to be at risk as those living in less disadvantaged areas, a factor he largely attributed to poor diet.

Some state governments and private health insurance companies were running programs, but people living in disadvantaged communities were less likely to take advantage of them.

"You are less likely to take advantage of these programs because your understanding of health literacy is lower, and you are more likely to be surrounded by other people who are obese so obese feels more normal," he said.

"So there are all sorts of societal reasons why Diabetes Australia believes the government should be investing much more in helping the society to lead healthier lifestyles."

Formerly known as non-insulin dependent diabetes, type two diabetes is characterized by high blood glucose levels.

Official data showed Australia currently has a total population of about 22.7 million.

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