Beaudesert GP encourages patients to get tested during Diabetes Awareness Week

DOCTOR: Beaudesert GP Megan Smith says a simple diabetes assessment could help prevent serious health problems. Photo: Larraine Sathicq
DOCTOR: Beaudesert GP Megan Smith says a simple diabetes assessment could help prevent serious health problems. Photo: Larraine Sathicq

BEAUDESERT GP Megan Smith has called on Scenic Rim residents to think about their health and get their blood glucose levels checked for National Diabetes Week

The campaign runs from July 14 to 20 and Diabetes Australia says awareness for type 1 diabetes means understanding the "four Ts" (toilet, thirsty, tired, thinner) - the early warning signs of the disease.

For type 2 diabetes the campaign theme is "It's About Time" and focuses on the importance of early diagnosis to avoid complications including heart attack, kidney failure and blindness.

Dr Smith, who has been seeing patients at the Beaudesert Medical Centre since January 2017 said finding out your own diabetes risk was as simple as starting a conversation with your family doctor.

"People could have symptoms and not realise what they are, or they could have no symptoms at all before they find out they have diabetes," she said.

"We generally recommend people have a fasting glucose blood test, which can tell your GP what your blood sugar levels have looked like for the past three months."

Dr Smith said people at increased risk included smokers, the overweight or obese, people with a family history of diabetes and those from Aboriginal and Torres Strait Island backgrounds. She said after the age of 40 other tests were also useful and included bowel screening and heart health assessment.

"From the age of 40 it's a good idea to check in with your doctor every one or two years for things like blood pressure and skin checks," she said.

Dr Smith said regular check ups were important, even for people who felt fit and healthy.

Diabetes: what you should know

  • About 1.8million Australians have diabetes, which includes all types of diagnosed diabetes as well as silent, undiagnosed type 2 diabetes.
  • About two million Australians have impaired glucose tolerance or impaired fasting glucose (known as pre-diabetes).
  • Type 2 diabetes can be prevented in up to 58 per cent of high risk cases.
  • There is no such thing as "mild diabetes" and if left untreated, it can be fatal.