Why you should get detected early
The team from Western Sydney Diabetes (WSD) will spend a week at Workers Blacktown next month promoting diabetes detection and prevention as part of National Diabetes Week 2023 (July 9-15).
Around this year’s theme of ‘Spark for Change’, Diabetes Australia is kick-starting Australia’s biggest conversation about the impact of diabetes in this country – a conversation to drive change, and to create hope for the future. Read more here.
Diabetes is a condition where there is too much glucose in the blood. The body can’t make insulin, enough insulin or is not effectively using the insulin it does make. Over time high glucose levels can damage blood vessels and nerves, resulting in long term health complications including heart, kidney, eye and foot damage.
NSW Health estimates that diabetes rates in western Sydney are 13% in adults and have been rising for over a decade.
WSD was established in response to the growing threat diabetes poses to our community’s health and wellbeing.
It is led by Western Sydney Local Health District and Western Sydney Primary Health Network (WentWest), Diabetes Australia and Department of Planning and Environment to address the Western Sydney diabetes hotspot.
This year the WSD team will run numerous activities to educate the community on the high rates of type 2 diabetes in western Sydney, prevention, and how they can detect it early.
Since 2022, WSD has been in a partnership with Workers Lifestyle Group (WLG) and pharmaceutical group Novo Nordisk called Western Sydney Changing Diabetes.
Novo Nordisk has sponsored several projects and WLG is providing $500,000 over five years for the initiative to fund projects and activities that will boost diabetes awareness, detection and prevention at a grassroots level.
At Workers Blacktown, WSD runs a diabetes detection program twice a month for its members and guests.
Since the detection program started in the club in January, more than half of the participants entering the club have HbA1c suggestive of prediabetes and diabetes, and alarmingly, half of the participants with prediabetes were not aware.
WSD also runs healthy cooking demonstrations and an information stall once a month and patrons can also use SiSU health stations for a free self-service health check in less than five minutes.
During National Diabetes Week at the club, WSD will:
- Run the diabetes detection program from 9.30am to 4pm on Monday to Friday (July 10 to 14);
- Launch free weekly line dancing lessons for beginners on Wednesday, July 12 at 2.30pm; and
- Host an extra cooking demonstration on Thursday, July 13 from 11am – 12.30pm.
WSD is encouraging adults to go to the club and get a HbA1c blood test if they:
- Have a family history of diabetes;
- Have an inactive lifestyle;
- Are overweight or obese;
- Had diabetes during a pregnancy; or
- Have a Pacific Island, Indian subcontinent, African, Asian, South Asian, Aboriginal or Torres Strait Island background.
“Once you know you have diabetes you need to make sure you are getting regular HbA1c tests and working with your GP to ensure you are using the most up to date medications and keeping your blood sugars under control,” WSD Director Prof Glen Maberly said.
“But you can prevent diabetes if you act early, simply through increased physical activity, a healthy diet and losing weight.”
WSD Prevention Manager Janine Dawson said together with the support from the club, WSD’s work in prevention has gone “to a new level”.
“We have worked together and learnt from the members what kinds of lifestyle programs are of most interest and the club has made them happen,” Ms Dawson said.
“Through our activities we can help people understand what actions should be taken to hopefully avoid diabetes and we’re keen to expand our efforts within the community.”
Western Sydney Changing Diabetes recently won the health category at the ClubsNSW Club and Community Awards.
Workers Lifestyle Group CEO Morgan Stewart said his team was proud to be working with WSD on the Western Sydney Changing Diabetes partnership.
“Now we see our members, staff and our community understanding how simple lifestyle modifications can prevent type 2 diabetes, we are more committed than ever to this campaign,” he said.
WSD has also produced numerous educational resources, including 100 videos delivered by staff specialists about diabetes impact on hearing, feet, also diabetes prevention, diet and different diabetes medicines.
Workers Blacktown is at 55 Campbell St, Blacktown. No need to book for the activities, just turn up.
Visit www.diabetesaustralia.com.au/national-diabetes-week/ for more information about National Diabetes Week 2023.