Alarm over di­a­betes fig­ures

Harvey-Waroona Reporter - - FRONT PAGE - Zach Relph

A LACK of health ser­vices in re­gional ar­eas has been blamed for alarm­ing new fig­ures which re­veal more than 5.5 per cent of Brunswick, Har­vey and Wa­roona res­i­dents have di­a­betes.

Na­tional Di­a­betes Ser­vices Scheme sta­tis­tics found all three towns were above the na­tional av­er­age for res­i­dents liv­ing with type 1, type 2 or ges­ta­tional di­a­betes. The na­tional av­er­age is 5.1 per cent, while WA’s av­er­age is just 4.4 per cent.

Brunswick, Har­vey and Wa­roona all ex­ceed the na­tional and State av­er­age at 6.6 per cent, 6.3 per cent and 5.6 per re­spec­tively.

“The ex­act rea­sons for the in­creased rate of di­a­betes in Wa­roona, Har­vey and Brunswick are dif­fi­cult to pin­point,” Di­a­betes WA Tele­health Ser­vice co­or­di­na­tor Gill Denny said.

“How­ever, peo­ple liv­ing in re­gional ar­eas face chal­lenges such as re­duced ac­cess to health and sup­port ser­vices, and trav­el­ling to city cen­tres for health ap­point­ments can be dif­fi­cult and time-con­sum­ing.”

Brunswick, Har­vey and Wa­roona’s re­sults fare rel­a­tively high com­pared to other South West towns. Aus­tralind is be­low av­er­age with only 4 per cent of res­i­dents liv­ing with di­a­betes, while Bun­bury is on-av­er­age at 5.1 per cent, Dar­danup recorded 3.9 per cent and Ea­ton was at 4.9 per cent.

St John of God Hospi­tal Bun­bury di­a­betes ed­u­ca­tor Ni­cole Frayne said there were a num­ber of risk fac­tors con­tribut­ing to the fig­ures.

These in­clude life­style, diet and cul­tural back­ground.

“What con­cerns me more is for ev­ery per­son di­ag­nosed with type 2 there is prob­a­bly an­other that has it but is not di­ag­nosed,” Mrs Frayne said.

“There could be a group of peo­ple that have di­a­betes but aren’t ac­cess­ing treat­ment.”

Mrs Denny said Di­a­betes WA’s Di­a­betes Tele­health Ser­vice for Coun­try WA “re­duced the dis­tance bar­rier for peo­ple liv­ing with di­a­betes” to ac­cess “high­qual­ity di­a­betes care”.

The pro­gram, which has been op­er­at­ing for two years, pro­vides one-on-one ed­u­ca­tion ses­sions via video link to re­gional peo­ple who are un­able seek help from met­ro­pol­i­tan-based ser­vices.

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