3000 people with diabetes don't know it yet

MORE than 3000 people in Rockhampton have diabetes - they just don't know it yet.

Research by Diabetes Australia shows that for every person diagnosed with diabetes, there is another person living with the condition who has never been tested.

With Rockhampton labelled the worst diabetes hotspot in Queensland - where a massive 5.17% of the population has been diagnosed with the disease - an awareness expo has been organised in the city this weekend.

On Saturday, 250 people are expected to visit “EXPOsing Diabetes” at Rockhampton Brothers Leagues Club, which is aimed at educating people about the disease.

“We know that at least 3355 people in the district have been diagnosed with diabetes, and the same number again could have it or be developing it without even knowing it,” said CEO of the Queensland branch of Diabetes Australia, Michelle Trute.

Ms Trute said nine diabetes hotspots across Queensland were being targeted by “EXPOsing Diabetes”.

Rockhampton exercise physiologist Rob Stanton said obesity rates in the beef capital were partly to blame for the growing diabetes problem.

“It's too much of the good life,” he said.

“Obesity is a huge issue in our area. It's a combination of an unhealthy diet, high stress and lack of regular physical activity.

“High rates of mechanisation in industry and general life means people are actually moving less, even though they might be working longer hours than they were, say 10 years ago.”

Rockhampton-based nutritionist Sharon Pepper will also be talking at Saturday's diabetes EXPO.

She has found that busy lives are taking their toll on people trying to manage their diabetes as well as the general public who are trying to look after their health.

“Over time, we've changed the way we eat and we're relying heavily on processed foods which can be high in salt, sugar and fat. Ideally people need to move back to the days of old - eating more fresh food. However, if they purchase packaged food they need to know the best option for them and their family,” she said.

“In order to reduce their risk of developing type 2 diabetes, the whole population should be eating as if they already have the disease - watching what they eat and how much they eat,” she concluded.

As part of Mr Stanton's presentation at the EXPO, he will be discussing ways people can increase their levels of physical activity.

“People need to make a conscious decision to be less sedentary, to walk wherever possible, and look at improving their diet,” he said.

They will discuss:

  • Diabetes - Understanding the Condition (General Practitioner)
  • Changing Behaviour and Setting Goals (Psychologist)
  • Blood Glucose Monitoring (Diabetes Educator)
  • Exercise and Diabetes (Exercise Physiologist)
  • Foot Care and Peripheral Neuropathy (Podiatrist)
  • Diabetes and Your Eyes (Optometrist)
  • Healthy Eating Tips for Diabetes (Dietician)

Attendees will also have the opportunity to view the latest diabetes-related products and self-management tools, and will also learn about the latest research projects and how they can be involved.

“Hopefully, the information, education and support available through the EXPOsing Diabetes program will help people in the Rockhampton community stay well and out of hospital,” Ms Trute said.

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