World Diabetes Day 2016
As World Diabetes Day (November 14) approaches, Apunipima’s Diabetes Educators- Bernadette Heenan and Cathryn Dowey -are presenting at the Lowitja Institute International Indigenous Health and Wellbeing Conference on the benefits of continual glucose monitoring technology (CGMS) which allows Type 2 diabetes clients to ‘see’ when their blood sugar levels change and then alter their behaviour accordingly.
The team (which also includes Diabetes Educator Maureen Toner) is seeing health improvements among their clients thanks to their innovative approach
‘Continuous glucose monitoring involves the person with the disease, enabling them to see (via graphs) what causes their blood sugar to spike beyond a healthy rate,’ said Bernadette.
‘Giving people the power to see what behaviours impact their blood sugar levels gives them the information they need to make healthier choices – we are all about building capacity and supporting the person to make changes that are right for them and their families.’
While this process makes a difference to those suffering from the disease, there is a lot that can be done to prevent people getting diabetes in the first place.
This year’s World Diabetes Day theme is Keep Your Eyes on Diabetes – a sentiment echoed by Apunipima’s diabetes team.
For every person who is diagnosed with diabetes there is one undiagnosed. So the theme this year is screening.
‘When you screen, people can find out if they are heading towards diabetes and can take steps to prevent it. Screening can help identify diabetes early and help prevent complications. It is also an important management strategy to maintain good diabetes control.’
‘If you are of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander descent you are automatically in higher risk category for developing Type 2 diabetes. If you live remotely your chances of developing Type 2 diabetes go up again. It is vital that everyone in remote Cape York communities, kids, pregnant women, everyone get regularly screened.’
‘Getting in early means the disease and impacts - such as amputation, blindness and kidney failure
- can be prevented or managed.’
‘Type 2 diabetes affects Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities around three times as much as non-indigenous Australians – they also suffer from more complications and are more likely to die as a result of the condition. By empowering and inspiring people to take control of their own health via creative and innovative ways such as the CGMS system, we can help reduce the toll of this disease on Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people.’