Hundreds of Australians hospitalised every year due to failure to recognise early signs of type 1 diabetes

Hundreds of Australians hospitalised every year due to failure to recognise early signs of type 1 diabetes

Up to 640 Australians are hospitalised each year in serious life threatening situations before they are diagnosed with type 1 diabetes, Diabetes Australia warned today.

Diabetes Australia is launching a new campaign “It’s About Time” to encourage the community, families, schools and health professionals to recognise the early signs of type 1 diabetes and help avoid many of the hospitalisations.

“Each year hundreds of Australians including many children end up in hospital emergency rooms in serious, life-threatening situations because the early signs of type 1 diabetes are not recognised,” Diabetes Australia CEO Professor Greg Johnson said. “Failure to recognise the early symptoms of type 1 diabetes such as severe fatigue, thirst, increased visits to the toilet and weight loss can lead to a dangerous condition called diabetes ketoacidosis.

“Every year around 640 people including many children only learn they’ve got type 1 diabetes after presenting to hospital, often with diabetes ketoacidosis. This can be life threatening. But most of these hospitalisations could be avoided if the early signs were identified and the type 1 diabetes treated before progressing to ketoacidosis.”

Professor Johnson said everyone should learn the early signs of type 1 diabetes. “Type 1 diabetes is far more common than most people think. Over 3000 Australians are diagnosed with type 1 diabetes every year. Half of these are children and adolescents,” he said.

“It’s about time we all knew the early signs of type 1 diabetes. People should look for the 4T’s:

  • Thirst – are they really thirsty and unable to quench that thirst?
  • Toilet – are they going to the toilet a lot?
  • Tired – are they more tired than usual?
  • Thinner – have they recently lost weight?

“If you see these early signs, see a doctor straight away and ask about type 1 diabetes.”

Professor Jerry Wales, from the Lady Cilento Children’s Hospital in Brisbane said the hospital continued to see a higher than expected number of children arriving at hospital with diabetes ketoacidosis.

“Too many children arrive at hospital seriously ill from type 1 diabetes and it is only when they get to hospital that they are diagnosed,” Professor Wales said.