Put to the test

Pro­fes­sor Gra­ham Jones is urg­ing peo­ple at risk to be tested for type 2 di­a­betes

Diabetic Living - - Awareness Diabetes -

With rates of di­a­betes on the rise, chem­i­cal pathol­o­gist Pro­fes­sor Gra­ham Jones be­lieves a sim­ple test could make the dif­fer­ence.

Like Prof. Jones, here at Di­a­betic Liv­ing we’re con­cerned about the ris­ing tide of type 2, and our Change4Life cam­paign ac­knowl­edges those who are ded­i­cated to in­creas­ing pub­lic aware­ness about di­a­betes.

Di­a­betes af­fects about 1.7 mil­lion Aus­tralians, and hun­dreds of thou­sands of oth­ers are ei­ther un­di­ag­nosed or at risk. These alarm­ing fig­ures are prompt­ing health pro­fes­sion­als, in­clud­ing Prof. Jones, to make a plea for the early de­tec­tion and on­go­ing mon­i­tor­ing of di­a­betes. The hope is to re­duce health com­pli­ca­tions as­so­ci­ated with the dis­ease and re­lieve the pres­sure cur­rently on our coun­try’s health sys­tem.

Test­ing politi­cians

Re­cently, Pathol­ogy Aware­ness Aus­tralia and Di­a­betes Aus­tralia in­vited politi­cians at Par­lia­ment House to be checked for di­a­betes, and 87 took up the of­fer of tak­ing a Hae­moglobin A1c (HbA1c) test, which looks at av­er­age blood glu­cose lev­els (BGLs).

Of those tested, two were found to have pre-di­a­betes and one was di­ag­nosed with type 2. “This re­sult is not sur­pris­ing,” says Prof. Jones. “An ex­act pre­dic­tion is not pos­si­ble with­out know­ing the ages and risk fac­tors, but we es­ti­mate around 500,000 Aus­tralians have di­a­betes and do not know it, and many more have pre-di­a­betes, so the re­sult is not un­ex­pected.”

Pol­lies work in a high-pres­sure en­vi­ron­ment, which makes you won­der if this con­trib­uted. “As life­style fac­tors, par­tic­u­larly diet and ex­er­cise, are pre­dis­pos­ing fac­tors to type 2, peo­ple in high-pres­sure en­vi­ron­ments can cer­tainly be at in­creased risk,” says Prof. Jones. But this does not mean peo­ple with­out ‘high pres­sure’ are not at risk.

What­ever your en­vi­ron­ment, all health ex­perts agree early de­tec­tion is im­por­tant. A

2016 Cen­tre for In­ter­na­tional Eco­nomics (CIE) re­port found the cost of di­a­betes is $4-6 bil­lion each year in Aus­tralia, but this could be halved. “The longer you’re ex­posed to high BGLs, the more dam­age,” ex­plains Prof. Jones. “So the best ap­proach is pre­ven­tion, fol­lowed by early de­tec­tion and man­age­ment.” n

A pol­lie’s HbA1c is


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