Apunipima Cape York Health Council is calling for all Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people living on Cape York to have an annual health check to assess their diabetes status.
Diabetes Nurse Educator Cathryn Dowey said it was vital people living in remote Cape York had a check-up to exclude diabetes or prediabetes.
‘One in three people in these communities have diabetes compared to one in 10 in the general population. If you have diabetes, and find out early, it’s manageable and you can avoid complications like losing your vision, limb amputation and kidney failure. If you have prediabetes we can support you so you don’t develop diabetes and if you are healthy we can help keep you that way.’
‘For every person diagnosed with diabetes, it’s estimated there’s another person who’s undiagnosed. Recent studies show around one hundred thousand Queenslanders have type 2 diabetes but don’t know it. You need a blood test to find out your diabetes status which is why it’s critical to have an annual health check so you can put things in place and keep your health on track.’
Apunipima’s Diabetes Education team will be in community this week, supporting clients and advising clinicians. They will also be supporting team members to watch a series of webinars on diabetes topics and further educate themselves about the reality of this devastating illness which is a leading cause of death amongst Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people.
‘I have been working closely with Apunipima Health Promotion Officer Fiona Millard in Kowanyama over the last fortnight to help women and children understand what diabetes is, risk factors, and managing risks to prevent diabetes,’ Cathryn explained.
‘We can really make inroads into the tidal wave of diabetes which is impacting Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities through prevention, education, early testing and early treatment. We are calling on every one of the people we work with in Cape York to think about the message – It’s About Time. It’s about time you got a health check and it’s about time – to sort it out early, prevent diabetes and avoid diabetes associated complications. A diabetes test takes only five minutes.'