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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)

  • 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


Diabetes complications


Diabetes is the leading cause of preventable blindness in Australia.

There are currently around 72,000 people in Australia with Diabetic retinopathy, with approximately 3 in 5 experiencing poor sight.

Diabetic retinopathy occurs in over 15 per cent of Australians with Diabetes.

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.


Facts and figures

There are more than 4,400 amputations every year in Australia as a result of Diabetes.


This is the second highest rate in the developed world.


In 2005, more than 1,000 people with Diabetes died as a direct result of foot ulcers and lower limb wounds – around 8% of all Diabetes related deaths.


Every year there are 10,000 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.


Recent data suggests rates of Diabetes-related amputations increased by over 30% between 1998 and 2011 – clearly this is unsustainable.


Experts estimate Diabetic foot disease costs Australia around $875 million every single year.


The average cost of a Diabetes-related limb amputation is around $23,555, and an additional annual spend of $6,065 every year afterwards. Over five years a Diabetes related amputation costs the health system almost $50,000 and that doesn’t include social costs.


Recent new research suggests investing in evidence-based care for Australians with Diabetic foot ulcers could save around $2.7 billion over five years. That is around $9,000 per person aged under 75 and $12,000 per person aged over 75 (both over five years).


Patients with Diabetic foot ulcers have morbidity and mortality rates on par with aggressive forms of cancer.


Diabetes complications – like Diabetic foot ulcers – massively increases the cost of providing healthcare to people with Diabetes. For instance, the cost of providing healthcare to someone who has had a Diabetic foot ulcer is more than five times higher (5.4) than providing healthcare to someone who doesn’t have a foot ulcer.


Limb amputations are threatening to bankrupt our hospital system. People with Diabetes hospitalised for lower limb amputation have longer stays in hospital than other Diabetes-related conditions. The average length of stay is around twenty-six days.


Research shows it is possible to reduce preventable amputations and hospitalisation by as much between 24 to 90%.


Around 85% of Diabetes related amputations are preventable if wounds are detected early and managed appropriately.



The above information comes from the Diabetes Australia website. Diabetes Australia provides excellent information on Diabetes and how to manage it. Please check their website by clicking on the logo below for further information.