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Australians must look to family history for type 2 diabetes risk

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A new national survey released today reveals that 75 per cent of Australians do not know that family history is a risk factor for developing type 2 diabetes. The Jones Donald survey also found that 97 per cent of people who have diabetes in their family do not believe their children are at very much risk.

Diabetes Australia launched a new national campaign today at Melbourne’s Federation Square with the new TV commercial stressing that if both of your parents have type 2 diabetes then you have a one in two chance of developing type 2 diabetes.

The National President of Diabetes Australia, Dr Gary Deed encouraged all Australians to talk to their family and find out whether there was type 2 diabetes in their family.

“It is alarming that only 10 per cent of people with diabetes considered their children to be at risk of developing the condition. This highlights the importance of this national awareness campaign. Mums and dads need to know that their children are at risk, and people need to know if their parents have type 2 diabetes.”

“The new campaign continues to focus on waist circumference for adults as an important indicator of type 2 diabetes risk we want people to measure their waists to assess their risk. If you have a large waist measurement and a family history, your risk is even higher and you should see a doctor,” he said.

Dr Deed said people must not underestimate the seriousness of type 2 diabetes and consider the complications which include heart attack, stroke, kidney damage, blindness and amputation.

The Smith brothers of Melbourne are living proof that type 2 diabetes often runs in families and evidence that you can fight off the impact of genes by improving your lifestyle.

Their paternal grandmother almost certainly had type 2 diabetes. They suspect their father may have had undiagnosed diabetes when he died suddenly from a heart attack at age 52.

Their mother also has prediabetes.

Mike Smith says “With a family history like that, it was little surprise that diabetes was a risk for us all.”

While Mike and Paul have type 2 diabetes, brothers Mark, Simon and Adam have adopted a healthy lifestyle to ward off the condition.

Families cannot change their genes however there are ways to prevent or delay the onset of type 2 diabetes.

Maintaining a healthy weight, being physically active and healthy eating can reduce a person’s risk of developing type 2 diabetes by up to 60 per cent.

Diabetes is at epidemic proportions with 275 Australians developing diabetes every day, joining the estimated 1.5 million Australians who already have diabetes and the 2 million Australians with prediabetes.

(Source: Diabetes Australia: July 2008)

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Dates

Posted On: 11 July, 2008
Modified On: 16 January, 2014

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