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4364.0.55.003 - Australian Health Survey: Updated Results, 2011-2012  
Latest ISSUE Released at 11:30 AM (CANBERRA TIME) 07/06/2013  First Issue
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Contents >> Long-term health conditions >> Diabetes mellitus


DIABETES MELLITUS

Diabetes mellitus is a chronic condition where insulin, a hormone that controls blood glucose levels, is no longer produced or not produced in sufficient amounts by the body. It significantly affects the health of many Australians and can result in a range of complications, including serious damage to the nerves and blood vessels. If left undiagnosed or poorly managed, diabetes can lead to coronary heart disease, stroke, kidney failure, limb amputations or blindness.

    Data source and definitions

    Data on diabetes refers to persons who reported having been told by a doctor or nurse that they had diabetes and that it was long-term; that is, their diabetes had lasted, or was expected to last, 6 months or more.

    Estimates include 99,100 persons (or 0.5% of all persons aged 2 years and over) who reported they had diabetes but that it was not current at the time of interview. These persons were excluded from previous diabetes estimates published in Australian Health Survey: First Results, 2011-12 (cat. no. 4364.0.55.001).

    More accurate information on the number of people with diabetes based on measured blood sugar levels will be available upon release of results from the National Health Measures Survey in August 2013.

In 2011-12, 4.6% of persons aged 2 years and over (999,000 people) had some type of diabetes (excluding persons with gestational diabetes). This included 0.6% of persons with Type 1 diabetes and 3.9% of persons with Type 2 diabetes. Using the above definition, the prevalence of diabetes remained stable between 2007-08 and 2011-12 (4.5% in 2007-08).

More men reported having diabetes than women (5.1% of men aged 2 years and over compared with 4.2% of women aged 2 years and over) and, as with many health conditions, the rate of diabetes increased with age. People aged 75-84 years had the highest rate of diabetes (17.0%).

Graph Image for Persons aged 2 years and over - Proportion with diabetes(a), 2011-12

Footnote(s): (a) Estimates include 99,100 persons who reported they had diabetes but that it was not current at the time of interview. These persons were excluded from previous diabetes estimates published in Australian Health Survey: First Results, 2011-12 (cat. no. 4364.0.55.001).

Source(s): Australian Health Survey: Updated Results, 2011-12


The proportion of people with diabetes increased as the level of disadvantage increased. People living in areas of most disadvantage were more likely to report they had diabetes compared with those living in areas of least disadvantage (6.8% compared with 3.1%).

For more information see Table 8: Selected long-term health conditions by age and sex and Table 9: Selected long-term health conditions by selected population characteristics.

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