CHAMPION COLUMN | Time to test the west for diabetes

Barry Calvert, President of WSROC.
Barry Calvert, President of WSROC.

How do you know if you are at risk of diabetes? Next week is National Diabetes Week, and while you may not think diabetes could affect you - think again.

In Australia, diabetes is growing fast, and the western Sydney region is a hotspot.

Over 15 per cent of western Sydney residents have diabetes and six people in every ten are at risk of developing it.

At a recent trial in a western Sydney hospital, more than 32.2 per cent of people who tested positive for diabetes did not know they had it. Organisations across Western Sydney, including the Western Sydney Regional Organisation of Councils (WSROC), support your local health services working to beat diabetes in our communities.

So what is diabetes? Diabetes is about blood sugar and the way your body manages it. Blood sugar - or blood glucose - is necessary to provide energy to your cells, but it needs to be within a healthy range. Diabetes type 1 and 2 are different conditions to do with the body's ability to regulate those levels.

Type 2 Diabetes is the most common, in western Sydney. If untreated, diabetes can cause kidney damage, eye damage and an increased risk of heart disease or stroke.

Lots of factors contribute to being at risk of diabetes. It's what you eat, how much you move, whether you smoke, and if your family has a history of diabetes.

If you are overweight, over 40, and not very active, you could be at risk of developing type 2 diabetes.

In western Sydney, we have a higher rate of obesity compared with the rest of NSW, with more than sixty per cent of us overweight. Fortunately, type 2 diabetes is largely preventable. Losing just two kilograms will reduce your risk of developing diabetes.

If you think you might be at risk, ask your doctor about getting tested. It's a simple blood test that will get you started on the path to a healthier lifestyle.

Healthier living means making a few changes to your diet and taking some extra steps every day.

Winter is a great time of year to get outside and explore some of your local parks and walking trails - all for free.

Barry Calvert is the president of the Western Sydney Regional Organisation of Councils

This story Time to test the west for diabetes first appeared on Fairfield City Champion.