Geelong residents among 'most at risk' of diabetes

“We certainly know diabetes has become an epidemic and it is increasing,” she said.

As many as 280 Australians develop diabetes every day – nearly 100,000 Australians developed diabetes in the past year.

Diabetes Australia chief executive Professor Greg Johnson said the number of people being diagnosed with diabetes was continuing to grow.

“Over 1.5 million Australians have diabetes and an additional 100,000 per annum develop diabetes,” he said.

“There are hundreds of thousands of people in Australia with silent type 2 diabetes who are yet to be diagnosed.”

In her clinics around the region, Ms McMaster said many people refused to believe they had diabetes.

“They come in and say this is completely unfair and often I have people who ask to be tested again,” she said.

Lyn Curtis from Diabetes Australia’s Victorian branch said there was a large level of complacency towards the condition.

“There are two million Australians who actually have pre-diabetes currently, so that means they will go on to get type 2 diabetes within the next five years unless they do something to prevent it.”

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Won’t stop me, says Kim 

LIVING with diabetes can be challenging but Ocean Grove’s Kim Henshaw doesn’t let it hold her back.

Mrs Henshaw who was diagnosed with type 1 diabetes 26 years ago, works for Diabetes Australia and runs an online community to support people living with the condition.

Every day she tests her blood glucose with a device attached to her smartphone and uses an insulin pump to manage her condition. 

“I don’t let it get in the way of me enjoying my life and achieving things,” she said.

Unlike the more common type 2 diabetes, which is often triggered by lifestyle choices of being inactive or carrying excess weight, type 1 is an autoimmune disease, where the the body is unable to make its own insulin.

“It’s not preventable, it can be genetic but also can be very random,” Mrs Henshaw said.

“It’s a tough disease to have, you are expected to manage it yourself 24 hours a day,” she said.

“Everybody does their best, and then to be accused of causing it can be very distressing.”

* Kim’s blog: