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Diabetes prevention and care: we know what to do, so why aren’t we doing it?

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Reducing the national diabetes burden

The diabetes epidemic continues unabated. Globally, 382 million people have diabetes and this is projected to increase to 592 million by 2035.1 In Australia, there are an estimated 1 million people with diabetes and another 2 million at high risk of developing diabetes.2 While the contribution of many chronic diseases to the national burden of disability is decreasing, the diabetes burden continues to increase and is predicted to become the largest contributor by 2017.3 Diabetes affects individual patients, their families and society in general, and is estimated to cost in excess of $15 billion annually.4 This burden is not shared equally, and no group is more severely affected than Australia’s Indigenous population, who have higher rates of diabetes, significant premature mortality and high rates of complications, especially cardiovascular and renal disease.

There is strong evidence that the diabetes burden can be reduced, but there is an appreciable evidence–practice gap in implementing proven clinical care programs and translating prevention studies into community-based programs. Multifactorial intervention including control of blood glucose, blood pressure and lipids can reduce the broad range of diabetes-related microvascular and macrovascular complications…