Diabetes Australia is campaigning to raise awareness of the early symptoms of type 1 diabetes, citing the high rate of hospital admissions due to the condition.
Around 640 Australians, many of them children, were hospitalised each year in life-threatening situations, before they were diagnosed with type 1 diabetes, the organisation said.
Type 1 diabetes was far more common than most people thought, with more than 3000 people diagnosed each year, with half of those either children or adolescents, Diabetes Australia chief executive Professor Greg Johnson said.
Failure to recognise the early symptoms of the disease could lead to potentially life-threatening diabetes ketoacidosis, Professor Johnson said.
The early signs of type1 diabetes are referred to as the four “Ts”: thirst (excessive and/or unquenchable); toilet (going more than usual); tiredness (more than usual) and thinner (recent weight loss).
Many of those hospitalised were only diagnosed with type 1 diabetes after presenting to the hospital, often with diabetes ketoacidosis, Professor Johnson said.
“Most of these hospitalisations could be avoided if the early signs were identified and the type 1 diabetes treated before progressing to ketoacidosis,” he said.
The “It’s About Time” campaign, which was launched as part of Diabetes Week (July 9 to 15), also aims to raise awareness about the importance of early detection and early treatment of all types of diabetes.
Aside from type 1 diabetes, Diabetes Australia says up to half a million Australians may have undiagnosed type 2 diabetes.