3400 LO­CAL DI­A­BET­ICS WHO DON’T KNOW IT

Could you be one of them? Here’s how to find out...

Fraser Coast Chronicle - - FRONT PAGE - Inge Hansen Inge.Hansen@fraser­coastchron­i­cle.com.au

FOUR times a day, ev­ery day for the past 27 years, Alan Roker has in­jected him­self with in­sulin.

At 48-years-old, the ex-po­lice of­fi­cer was di­ag­nosed with type 2 di­a­betes and is com­pletely in­sulin de­pen­dent.

It was only from a yearly med­i­cal exam while in the New Zealand force that the dis­ease was dis­cov­ered.

“I left the po­lice when I found out,” he said.

“I couldn’t do front­line be­cause if I was fight­ing and I had a hypo, when my blood sugar goes low, I can’t say ‘let’s stop fight­ing for a minute while I have my jelly beans’.”

Mr Roker is one of at least 6872 peo­ple with type 2 di­a­betes on the Fraser Coast ac­cord­ing to Di­a­betes Queens­land. How­ever, there is a fright­en­ing num­ber who could be walk­ing around com­pletely obliv­i­ous to their con­di­tion – 3400 to be ex­act.

It is be­lieved 7582 peo­ple on the Fraser Coast have di­a­betes.

On Mon­day, di­a­betes was brought to the fore­front for World Di­a­betes Aware­ness Day. Suf­fer­ing with an ul­cer on his foot and ex­posed nerve end­ings in his feet, Mr Roker was gut­ted to hear the num­bers.

“That’s ter­ri­ble be­cause so many peo­ple, es­pe­cially the ones who de­velop type 2, can avoid it,” Mr Roker said.

The di­ag­no­sis was hard for Mr Roker to ac­cept, dub­bing him­self an “adren­a­line junkie”.

“Pre­vi­ously, years be­fore (the po­lice force) I was in the London fire bri­gade,” he said. “I just love the ac­tion but I had to calm down a lot.

“I can only re­late (di­a­betes) to an ath­lete who loses a leg.”

Di­vine Med­i­cal Cen­tre and La Divino Cos­metic and Skin Clinic owner Dr Sam­son Osed­im­i­le­hin said the wor­ry­ing num­bers were not just for the Fraser Coast.

He said that, in Aus­tralia, about one mil­lion peo­ple had type 2 di­a­betes, with a high preva­lence in Abo­rig­i­nal and Tor­res Strait Is­lander peo­ple.

“Peo­ple are eat­ing more re­fined prod­ucts when they used to eat more fruit and veg­eta­bles,” he said.

“The com­pli­ca­tions from di­a­betes are quite enor­mous.” He said if not di­ag­nosed early, di­a­betes could lead to chronic kid­ney dis­ease.

“More peo­ple are go­ing on dial­y­sis be­cause they don’t know they have it,” he said.

“Up to 50 per cent of di­a­betes pa­tients end up with chronic kid­ney dis­ease.”

Hav­ing treated an enor­mous num­ber of pa­tients with di­a­betes, Dr Sam said even as a doc­tor the ex­pe­ri­ence could be trau­matic, with am­pu­ta­tions needed for se­vere cases.

Mr Roker is part of a trial for the Free Style Li­bre – an elec­tronic way to check glu­cose with­out fin­ger prick­ing and he hopes to see more peo­ple able to af­ford the de­vice.

PHOTO: INGE HANSEN

IN­CUR­ABLE: Alan Roker uses his FreeStyle Li­bre to check his blood sugar lev­els to man­age his type 2 di­a­betes.

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