Diabetes not so sweet for victims
By EMMA CORNFORD
DONNA Gorrie has been living with type-one diabetes since she was diagnosed in 1974.
By keeping an eye on her diet and insulin injections she keeps her condition under control. But she says the increase in the rate of type-two diabetes in the Clarence Valley is worrying.
"When I was diagnosed there wasn't a lot of information about the disease around, so it was up to my mother to find what she could and then teach it to me," Mrs Gorrie said.
"It is a worry what's happening because there is so much information around now there's no reason to get it. People should be able to easily avoid what causes type-two diabetes."
It is obesity that causes type-two diabetes, and with 71per cent of the North Coast population overweight or obese, Clarence Valley residents need to take heed.
"The potential health problems really do worry me. My biggest fear is that I could lose my sight, which can happen when you have diabetes and a lot of people just don't realise that," Mrs Gorrie said.
NCAHS clinical nurse consultant in diabetes Judy Reinhardt said the rise in obesity in the Clarence Valley was a direct contributor to many health problems, but one of the most prevalent was type-two diabetes.
"If you look at the figures, four years ago the incidence (of type-two diabetes) was four per cent ? now it's 7.4 per cent and that's a huge worry," she said.
"It's largely due to inactivity and the change of diet, where people are eating a lot more sugary, fatty foods. You used to only get type-two diabetes in people aged over 40, but now days we're seeing it in 10- and 12-year-old because of these high obesity levels."
But it seems most people are not aware of just how devastating diabetes can be, with complications including loss of sight, having legs amputated, kidney failure, heart attacks and strokes.
"These problems are already occuring in younger and younger people ... and with higher levels of obesity it will continue in the mainstream," said Ms Reinhardt.
"When it comes down to it, people are just eating large levels of fat, sugar and are not active enough."
Mrs Gorrie said there was no excuse: When I go out to a restaurant there are always options. You do have to think a little bit harder but there's always something you can eat.
"It's also important to educate kids early ? the earlier they learn how to know what a healthy meal is, the better."