4727.0.55.001 - Australian Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Health Survey: First Results, Australia, 2012-13  
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DIABETES

Diabetes mellitus is a chronic condition characterised by insufficient insulin production. It impacts on 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. According to the 2003 Australian Burden of Disease Study, diabetes accounted for 9% of the disease burden in the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander population (Endnote 1).

Data presented are for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people who reported having ever been told by a doctor or nurse that they had diabetes. Diabetes is assumed to be a long-term health condition. Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people with high sugar levels in their blood or urine have been included in the diabetes data if they have been told by a doctor or nurse that they have high sugar levels and have stated that this condition is current. People reporting high sugar levels are assumed to have a long-term health condition. More information on the number of people with diabetes based on measured blood sugar levels will be available upon release of Australian Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Health Survey: Biomedical data in 2014.
Data presented are for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people with Type 1 or Type 2 diabetes, including those who reported high sugar levels in their blood or urine.

RESULTS FROM 2012–13

In 2012–13, around one in twelve (8%) Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people reported they had diabetes mellitus and/or high sugar levels in their blood or urine.

Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander females were significantly more likely than males to have diabetes/high sugar levels (10% compared with 7%).

Within the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander population, diabetes/high sugar levels were prevalent from about 25 years of age onwards, and increased with age. One in six (18%) Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people aged 25 years and over had diabetes/high sugar levels, with rates ranging from 5% of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people aged 25–34 years to 39% of those aged 55 years and over.

DIABETES/HIGH SUGAR LEVELS BY AGE, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people
aged 25 years and over—2012-13

Graph: Diabetes/high sugar levels by age


In 2012–13, the prevalence of diabetes/high sugar levels in the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander population ranged from about 7% in major cities and inner regional areas to 12% in very remote areas.

DIABETES/HIGH SUGAR LEVELS, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people by remoteness
—2012-13

Graph: Diabetes/high sugar levels by remoteness

CHANGE OVER TIME

Between 2001 and 2012–13, the prevalence of diabetes/high sugar levels in the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander population increased significantly from 6% to 8%. There have been statistically significant increases in the rates for diabetes/high sugar levels in both non-remote and remote areas over the decade — from 5% to 7% in non-remote areas and from 8% to 11% in remote areas.


HOW DO THESE RATES COMPARE WITH THE RATES FOR NON-INDIGENOUS PEOPLE?

After adjusting for differences in age structure between the two populations, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people were more than three times as likely as non-Indigenous people to have diabetes/high sugar levels (rate ratio of 3.3). There were statistically significant differences between the age standardised rates for both females (rate ratio of 4.3) and males (rate ratio of 2.6).

Rates for diabetes/high sugar levels among Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people were between three and five times as high as the comparable rates for non-Indigenous people in all age groups from 25 years and over.


Graph Image for Diabetes or high sugar levels, by Indigenous status and age(a)

Footnote(s): (a) Persons aged 25 years and over. (b) Non-Indigenous esitmate has a RSE of 26.7 percent and should be used with caution.

Source(s): 2012-13 Australian Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Health Survey and 2011-12 Australian Health Survey




ENDNOTES

1. Vos, T, Barker, B, Stanley, L & Lopez, A 2007, The Burden of Disease and Injury in Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Peoples, 2003, School of Population Health, Brisbane.

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