4820.0.55.001 - Diabetes in Australia: A Snapshot, 2007-08  
ARCHIVED ISSUE Released at 11:30 AM (CANBERRA TIME) 16/09/2011   
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A person's perception of their own general health is a useful measure of their health status. In the 2007-08 NHS, people aged 15 years and over were asked to provide a general assessment of their own health selecting from a five-point scale (excellent, very good, good, fair and poor).

After adjusting for age, people with diabetes were more likely to perceive their general health as only fair or poor (41%) than people without the condition (14%) (Graph 7).

Graph 7 - Proportion of people with and without diabetes, by Self-assessed health status

Of people with diabetes who were employed or studying, 9% reported they had taken at least half a day off work, school or studying in the past 12 months because of their condition. Around 22% of people with diabetes said their condition caused interference with activities other than work, study or school.


Diabetes can lead to a range of health conditions, which can result in functional disabilities such as vision impairment and restricted use of limbs. In 2009, 0.4% of Australians had a disability primarily caused by diabetes. Rates of disability increased with age, with a higher proportion of people aged 65 years and over reporting a disability due to diabetes (1.9%) compared with people aged 0-44 years (0.1%), or 45 to 64 years (0.5%) [21].


In people with impaired glucose tolerance, blood glucose levels are higher than normal but not high enough for a diagnosis of diabetes. Blood glucose levels normally rise after eating a meal then gradually fall as the meal is digested, however in people with impaired glucose tolerance, these levels remain elevated [22]. Elevated glucose levels are commonly known as pre-diabetes. This condition is more common in people who have a family history of Type 2 diabetes and are inactive and overweight. People with pre-diabetes are up to 20 times more likely to be diagnosed with Type 2 diabetes than people with normal blood glucose levels [23].

In 2007-08, over 35,500 people reported high glucose levels in their blood or urine. Without some lifestyle modifications, these people are at high risk of developing diabetes, potentially increasing the overall rate of diabetes in Australia by 0.2%.