A look at the number of hospital admissions over the last 3 years for members with type 2 diabetes.

Type 2 diabetes: the world’s fastest growing chronic condition

An estimated 1.5 million Australians currently suffer from type 2 diabetes1, and latest data from Medibank reveals the rate at which the condition is increasing is cause for concern.

Supporting predictions that the world’s fastest growing chronic disease will affect three million Aussies by 2025, Medibank data has found hospital admissions for members with type 2 diabetes have increased by 15 per cent in the last three years, soaring from 31,000 in 2013 to more than 35,000 in 20152.

How do Australia’s states compare?

The increase in hospital admissions for members with type 2 diabetes was found to be highest in New South Wales and Western Australia – with a 20% and 18% uplift respectively between 2013 and 2015, while Queensland, South Australia, Victoria and Tasmania all increased by 12% during the same timeframe.

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Commenting on the findings, Medibank Chief Medical Officer, Dr Linda Swan says:

“It’s essential we address the rate at which type 2 diabetes is rising on a national level. We need to ensure individuals are able to maintain a healthy, active lifestyle, and are empowered to make more mindful decisions about the food they’re consuming. That’s particularly important for foods high in refined sugars.”

Medibank tips on how to prevent the onset of type 2 diabetes 1.

  • Manage your weight: Being overweight can significantly increase your risk of type 2 diabetes. If you have issues managing your weight, best chat to a professional – your GP or a certified dietitian – to find out how you can reduce excess fat. Typically, the most effective way to do this is through healthy diet and exercise.
  • Exercise regularly: Not only does exercise have huge mental benefits, but it also plays a crucial role in maintaining a healthy weight. It doesn’t have to be much – even 30 minutes of moderate exercise a day can do wonders for your health.
  • Eat a balanced diet: While the odd treat here and there is fine, it’s important to maintain a healthy, balanced diet -- keeping refined sugars to a minimum. Takeaway and fast foods often contain hidden sugars, so a great way to control what you’re eating is to plan your own meals and cook for yourself.
  • Limit alcohol: Make sure to watch your alcohol intake. Excess alcohol consumption can contribute to weight gain, which could lead to the onset of type 2 diabetes.
  • Quit smoking: Smoking dramatically increases your risk of developing type 2 diabetes -- the more you smoke, the higher your risk. What’s more, smoking can also make type 2 diabetes symptoms harder to manage.
  • Check if you’re at risk: If you’re worried that you may be at risk of developing type 2 diabetes, make an appointment to see your GP and have your blood glucose, blood pressure and cholesterol levels checked to make sure you’re in the clear.

1 1.7 million Australians suffer from diabetes, with type 2 diabetes accounting for 85% of this figure, according to Diabetes Australia

2 31,081 hospital admissions in 2013, to 35,615 admissions in 2015, according to Medibank customer data