The incidence of type 1 diabetes continues to increase at an alarming rate according to a report released by the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare (AIHW).
In responding to the report ‘Incidence of Type 1 diabetes in Australia 2000-2006’, Diabetes Australia National President, Dr Gary Deed, said “Any increase in incidence is cause for concern, we have seen the gradual increase in type 1 diabetes in Australia for some time which mirrors trends internationally where Australia ranks fourth behind the Nordic countries of Finland, Sweden and Norway.”
Type 1 diabetes usually develops during childhood or youth, though it can occur at any age and is characterised by the inability of the body to produce insulin. Dr Deed said “At this point in time there is no known cure for type 1 diabetes. More research is needed to find possible controllable risk factors that many contribute to the onset of type 1 diabetes.”
“Currently research is looking at both genetic and environmental factors involved in the development of the disease. Some environmental risk factors being researched include viruses, nutrition possibly including early consumption of cow’s milk and vitamin D deficiency.”
Diabetes Australia calls for a collaborative approach to support and improve the health of the increasing number of people living with type 1 diabetes. Diabetes Australia CEO, Matt O’Brien said “Diabetes Australia commends the Australian Government’s commitment of $5.5 million announced in the federal budget to make insulin pump technology more affordable for Australian families who have a child living with type 1diabetes. We are very pleased to be working with the Australian Government and the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation to implement the scheme which will improve the affordability of insulin pumps and begin operating from November this year.”
Insulin pumps are proven to be greatly beneficial in the management of type 1 diabetes. In addition to the daily routine of diet management and insulin injections, they help minimise dangerous fluctuations in blood glucose levels that can result in long-term health complications such as blindness, heart disease, kidney failure, limb amputation or coma.
Dr Deed added “Type 1 diabetes accounts for about 13% of all diabetes cases which is not an insignificant figure when considering the total personal and community costs of the disease.”
(Source: Diabetes Australia: July 2008)