Free Community Forum for Western Sydney Diabetes Hotspot – thepulse.org.au
Diabetes remains one of the biggest health issues in Western Sydney.
West Sydney (WSD) diabetes endocrinologist and presenter Dr Rona Francisco said an estimated 12 per cent of West Sydney residents have diabetes and 38 per cent of the local population are at “high risk” for type 2 diabetes with pre-diabetes or early undiagnosed diabetes.
Diabetes screening at the emergency departments (EDs) of Blacktown and Mount Druitt hospitals in 2017 showed alarming rates of 17% of people with diabetes and 29% with pre-diabetes.
To help raise community awareness, a free community forum is being held Thursday, June 2 at the Blacktown Workers Club. Discussion topics will include:
- Early detection with an HbA1c test;
- Lifestyle – diet, exercise and nature;
- GP management plan;
- Specialized service with an endocrinologist; and
- Diabetic distress and mental health.
The event is a collaboration between WSD (an initiative of Western Sydney Local Health District and WentWest (Western Sydney Primary Health Network), Blacktown City Council, Blacktown Workers Club and the Lions and Leos Clubs of Lions District 201N5 (Sydney and Norfolk Island) , Kings Langley, Sydney Sri Lankan, Blacktown City and Cherrybrook.
Lions District 201N5 Diabetes Officer Mohan Nanayakkara said one of the main goals is to reduce the prevalence of diabetes and improve the lives of people with diabetes.
“Better knowledge (of diabetes) will benefit families with greater freedom, better relationships and emotional well-being,” Mohan said.
“Learning how to prevent or control diabetes will also save money and time and help hospitals reduce the number of emergencies and visits.”
WSD Diabetes Prevention Officer Aruni Ratnayake said the prevalence of diabetes in Western Sydney calls for urgent action.
“Blacktown and surrounding areas are a diabetes hotspot with diabetes rates more than double those of Sydney’s eastern and northern suburbs,” Aruni said.
Blacktown Mayor Tony Bleasdale also shared the sentiment, saying greater awareness of diabetes was essential, especially in western Sydney.
“Blacktown City Council is committed to raising awareness of diabetes and promoting healthy lifestyles to combat the scourge of diabetes in our town,” he said.
WSD encourages anyone at high risk to visit their GP and get tested for a free HbA1c test.
This includes adults in Western Sydney who have more than one of the following risk factors:
- A family history of diabetes;
- An inactive lifestyle;
- is overweight or obese;
- Had diabetes during pregnancy;
- is 45 years of age or older; and
- Have a Pacific Islander, Indian Subcontinent, Chinese, Southeast Asian, Aboriginal, or Torres Strait Islander descent.