This World Diabetes Day, Western Sydney Diabetes (WSD) is reminding people who could be at high risk of type 2 diabetes to go and get a HbA1C blood test.
WSD Director Professor Glen Maberly said diabetes is a big problem in western Sydney – a diabetes hotspot with disease rates higher than the NSW average.
“The prevalence of diabetes in adults in Western Sydney Local Health District (WSLHD) is 12 per cent,” he said.
“With about 100,000 people in our district with diabetes, potentially 1 in 5 adults attending GP practices have diabetes. Many of these patients have undetected diabetes because they have not had their HbA1C level tested.”
He is encouraging anyone who is at high risk to go to their GP and get tested for a free HbA1c test.
This includes adults in western Sydney who has more than one of the following risk factors:
- A family history of diabetes;
- An inactive lifestyle;
- Is overweight or obese;
- Had diabetes during a pregnancy;
- Is 45 years old or older; and
- Has a Pacific Island, Indian subcontinent, Chinese, South East Asian, Aboriginal or Torres Strait Island background
The theme for World Diabetes Day 2021-2023, held annually on November 14, is Access to Diabetes Care – If Not Now, When?
Professor Maberly said the event is also a good opportunity to highlight WSD’s successful model of care, Diabetes Case Conferencing (DCC) to local General Practitioners.
“The model of care for WSD has always been to build the capacity of primary care to manage type 2 diabetes, and once the patient’s diabetes has been stabilised to discharge the patient back to the GP care,” he said.
“Half the patients with diabetes attending General Practices in our area have HbA1C levels greater than 7 per cent. This is when the serious complications of diabetes are progressing.”
In response to the COVID challenge, the WSD team developed a new hybrid model of care, combining face-to-face and virtual care while keeping most GPs involved with new consultations.
This hybrid approach of DCC allowed the patient the option to join via telehealth from home or to attend the GP practice and sit with the GP.
“We encourage GPs to join us because a DCC lowers patients’ HbA1C on average by 0.9 per cent after three months and the benefit lasts more than three years,” Prof Maberly said.
WSD is a collaborative initiative led by Western Sydney Local Health District and Western Sydney Primary Health Network (WentWest) to address the Western Sydney diabetes hotspot.