Diabetes Australia says failing to implement a comprehensive national type 2 diabetes early detection program could cost the Australian health system more than $700 million each year.
Diabetes Australia is calling for emergency departments and GP clinics across Australia to conduct more routine detection in a bid to diagnose up to 500,000 Australians who may have undiagnosed type 2 diabetes.
People can have type 2 diabetes for years before it is diagnosed. In that time many will begin to develop debilitating complications including heart attacks and strokes, eye damage and blindness, foot ulcers and limb amputation, and kidney damage. In many cases, complications can be prevented with early detection and treatment.
At Blacktown Hospital, one of Australia’s diabetes hotspots, an innovative diabetes detection program found about half of people checked in the emergency department and other settings had either prediabetes or type 2 diabetes – much worse than experts previously believed.
Diabetes Australia CEO Professor Greg Johnson urged governments to take action now to ensure earlier detection of type 2 diabetes - before people develop complications.
“International evidence has found that early detection and optimal treatment could save as much as $1,415 per person per year,” Diabetes Australia CEO Professor Greg Johnson said.
“With an estimated 500,000 Australians having silent, undiagnosed type 2 diabetes that could translate to savings of more than $700 million for the Australian health system each year.
“Systematic early detection of type 2 diabetes is inexpensive and can be rolled out easily. It’s about time we did so.
“We are calling for the HbA1c test to be incorporated with other blood tests in emergency departments and other times when doctors are ordering a range of blood tests.”
Diabetes NSW & ACT CEO Sturt Eastwood said early diagnosis is critical to reducing the likelihood and impact of diabetes-related complications.
“The earlier people are diagnosed, the earlier they can get the right treatment, which will reduce their risk of developing complications including limb amputation, blindness, kidney failure and heart disease,” Mr Eastwood said.
- Diabetes Australia