Diabetes in Australia

Diabetes is the epidemic of the 21st century and the biggest challenge confronting Australia’s health system.

Facts about diabetes

  • 280 Australians develop diabetes every day. That’s one person every five minutes
  • Around 1.7 million Australians have diabetes. This includes all types of diagnosed diabetes (1.2 million known and registered) as well as silent, undiagnosed type 2 diabetes (up to 500,000 estimated) (Source)
  • More than 100,000 Australians have developed diabetes in the past year
  • For every person diagnosed with diabetes there is usually a family member or carer who also ‘lives with diabetes’ every day in a support role. This means that an estimated 2.4 million Australians are affected by diabetes every day
  • Total annual cost impact of diabetes in Australia estimated at $14.6 billion (Source)

Diabetes complications


Diabetes is the leading cause of preventable blindness in Australia. (Source)

Between 25% and 35% of Australians report some form of diabetic retinopathy. [Source]

Diabetic macula edema occurs in over 15% of Australians with diabetes. (Source)

The total indirect cost of vision loss associated with diabetic macular oedema in Australia is estimated to be $2.07 billion per annum. This is more than $28,000 per person with diabetic macular oedema. (Source)


Every year there are more than 27,600 hospital admissions in Australia for diabetes-related foot ulcers in Australia – many of these end with people having a limb, or part of a limb, amputated. (Source)

There are more than 4,400 amputations every year in Australia as a result of diabetes. Annually, more than 1700 people with diabetes die as a direct result of foot ulcers and lower limb wounds. (Source)

In 2005, more than 1000 people with diabetes died as a direct result of foot ulcers and lower limb wounds – around 8% of all diabetes related deaths. (Source)

Experts estimate diabetes-related foot disease costs Australia around $43 million every single year. Recent new research suggests investing in evidence-based care including regular screenings and education on the risk of diabetes related foot disease for Australians with diabetic foot ulcers could save around $15 million a year. (Source)

Heart disease

People with diabetes are between two and four times more likely to develop heart disease. (Source)

Heart disease is the number one cause of death for people with type 2 diabetes. It contributes to almost two-thirds of all deaths in people with diabetes. (Source)

Between one and three per cent of people with type 2 diabetes experience a heart attack every year. That means that in a given year between 11,000 and 33,000 Australians will suffer a diabetes-related heart attack. (Source)

Almost two thirds of Australian adults with type 2 diabetes self-report some form of cardiovascular disease. (Source)

People with diabetes may develop heart disease 10 to 15 years earlier than people without diabetes. (Source)

Cardiovascular disease is the leading cause of death in Australia. It kills one Australian every 12 minutes. (Source)

Diabetes is increasing

Diabetes is the fastest growing chronic condition in Australia; increasing at a faster rate than other chronic diseases such as heart disease and cancer. All types of diabetes are increasing in prevalence:

  • Type 1 diabetes accounts for 10% of all diabetes and is increasing
  • Type 2 diabetes accounts for 85% of all diabetes and is increasing
  • Gestational diabetes in pregnancy is increasing
Back to TOP