Busselton has a higher rate of diabetes than the state average, with an expert urging the community to “take their health more seriously.”
The statistics, which were released for National Diabetes Week, indicate the disease is prevalent in the South West region.
Data shows 5 per cent of Busselton residents have either type 1 or 2 diabetes.
The figure scrapes just below the national average of 5.1 per cent, but sits above the state average of 4.4 per cent.
Of that number, 90.2 per cent have type 2 diabetes.
This is above the national figure of 86.9 per cent and the state figure of 87.7 per cent.
Diabetes WA clinical services manager Rebecca Flavel said lifestyle choices were a key reason for people being diagnosed with the disease.
“Where the rates are higher, we find there are more takeaway outlets and sometimes less infrastructure to encourage people to exercise, which makes it hard for those residents to make healthy choices,” she said.
“I think ultimately people have to take their own health more seriously and take diabetes seriously. People need to take personal responsibility.
“The fear is letting diabetes become a normalised condition. It is something that is preventable.
“A weight loss of five to ten per cent for most people can stop or delay the onset of type 2 diabetes.”
Ms Flavel said there were certain factors, such as genetics and age, that were outwith people’s control and played a role in the diagnosis of diabetes
Symptoms of type 1 diabetes include being thirsty, going to the toilet more regularly, being tired and losing weight.
While type 2 diabetes is more difficult to identify, early detection can make a tangible difference in the person’s life.
“Type 2 diabetes can be quite a silent condition with the symptoms harder to pick up – many people have the condition without knowing it for as long as five to ten years,” Ms Flavel said.
“Complications of diabetes are the same whether it is type 1 or 2 – it is the effect of having higher glucose in your blood for many years.
“Concerning complications include heart disease or heart attacks and strokes, nerve damage, vision loss and kidney damage.
“However, if people are diagnosed early they can do something about it and delay and prevent the progression of type 2 diabetes.”
A WA Country Health spokesperson said the prevalence of diabetes had been escalating over the last three decades, with rates tripling over this period.
Diabetes WA are holding a one-day workshop for people with type 2 diabetes on August 3.
To book a place or to get more information, contact the Diabetes WA helpline and on 1300 001 880.