With 1.7 million people in Australia living with diabetes, now is not the time to be complacent. But, more and more people are turning a blind eye to their condition, and according to Dr Paul Mason and Dr Peter Brukner, this is where the problem lies, because the complications of diabetes are too concerning to ignore.
Blindness, kidney disease, heart disease, dementia, ulcers and amputation affect many people with type 2 diabetes, and they could affect you too. So, are you too blase about your type 2 diabetes?
Dr Peter Brukner: Paul, why do you think people are so blasé about their diabetes?
Dr Paul Mason: I think it's just because diabetes is so common now, Peter. We've got 1.7 million australians who live with type 2 diabetes.
Dr Peter Brukner: It's not so much that diabetes itself - it's the complications of diabetes, isn't it?
Dr Paul Mason: Well, that's what we really ought be afraid of and I think if people knew what these potential consequences were, they wouldn't be so blasé about a diagnosis of type 2 diabetes.
Dr Paul Mason: Let's take blindness or vision. So we know that 60 of type 2 diabetics will end up developing diabetic eye disease. It's the most common cause of blindness in Australians today. And what about the kidneys? Forty percent of diabetics will develop kidney disease and the end stage of that can lead to having to be on dialysis or even having to have a kidney transplant.
Dr Paul Mason: Or what about non-healing ulcers these festering wounds on people's feet? Well, 25% of diabetics at some point in time will develop an ulcer. And if that ulcer doesn't heal and becomes infected that can end up having to lead to an amputation either of a toe or the whole foot. I mean the consequences are really quite serious.
Dr Peter Brukner: And double the risk of heart disease?
Dr Paul Mason: Double the risk of heart disease and also double the risk of dementia.
Dr Peter Brukner: Scary. I think people are really scared about dementia. I mean alzheimer's disease is called type 3 diabetes such as the link between dementia and diabetes.
Dr Paul Mason: And it's not hard to understand why? Because the brain's only 2% of the body's weight but it uses 20% of the body's energy. So if you have a problem with your metabolism, the brain really is a sitting duck.
Dr Peter Brukner: So it's really the complications of diabetes, rather than the diabetes itself, that is a real concern.
Dr Paul Mason: I think if people knew what those consequences were, nobody would be blasé about type 2 diabetes.