How Australians Die: cause #5 – diabetes
This is the final in the How Australians Die series that focuses on the country’s top five causes of death and how we can drive down rates of these illnesses. Previous series articles were on heart diseases and stroke, cancers, dementia and chronic lower respiratory diseases.
Diabetes is rapidly emerging as a leading cause of death among Australians. It is also a leading cause of heart attacks, strokes, amputations, kidney failure, depression, dementia and severe infections – all of which themselves contribute to premature death.
It never used to be this way. Thirty years ago, around 250,000 Australians had diabetes. Today that figure is around two million.
Around the world in 2013, more than five million people between the ages of 20 and 79 died from diabetes, accounting for 8.4% of deaths among people in this age group. This translates to one death due to diabetes every six seconds. Tragically, nearly half of these were in people under 60.
These figures likely underestimate the major role of diabetes in death as it frequently goes unreported as a cause of death. One study showed that only 35% to 40% of people with diabetes who died had the disease listed on their death certificate, while only about 10% to 15% had diabetes listed as the underlying cause of death.
Which type of diabetes is worst?
Diabetes is characterised by higher than normal levels of glucose in the blood, caused by having insufficient insulin production or function to keep glucose levels under control.
This can come about if the immune system inadvertently destroys the insulin producing cells of the Continue reading