Put to the test
Professor Graham Jones is urging people at risk to be tested for type 2 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.
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