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JDRF statement on AIHW figures

The Australian Institute of Health and Welfare (AIHW) has today released a new report in their Diabetes Series entitled “Insulin-treated diabetes in Australia 2000-2007”. The full report is available online.

The Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation (JDRF) welcomes this detailed analysis of one of Australia’s most common chronic diseases but is alarmed by the report of sharp increases in new cases of type 1 diabetes in children.

It is reported that the incidence, or number of new cases, of type 1 diabetes in children has increased by a dramatic 30 per cent between 2000 and 2007.

In 2007 there were 990 new diagnoses of this lifelong disease for children aged from birth up to 14 years, compared with 758 in 2000.

It is confirmed that Australia is in the top 10 countries of those with the highest rates of type 1 diabetes in children aged 0 to 14 years.

Mike Wilson, CEO of JDRF, said that this sharp rise further increases the urgent need for research to unlock the mystery around the causes of type 1 diabetes in children.

“Scientists still don’t know exactly what triggers type 1 diabetes, and this is a serious concern. It is known that this disease has a strong genetic factor but as our genes aren’t changing that doesn’t explain this dramatic increase,” said Mr Wilson.

“Environmental factors like vitamin D exposure, viruses, and excessive hygiene standards all appear to influence the onset of this disease. Clearly it is now critical that we pinpoint those influences through increased investment in research.”

The report also states that the death rate among people with insulin-treated diabetes was 3 times as high as the rest of the Australian population over the period 2000-2006.

“The seriousness of diabetes is underlined by the significantly increased risk of death for those with the disease, as well as direct links to serious health complications like stroke, kidney disease, blindness, heart disease and amputation.”

“It is promising that the latest diabetes management technologies, insulin pumps and continuous blood glucose monitors, are proven to significantly reduce the risk of serious health complications, not only reducing the risk of death but also the burden on the health system.”

“JDRF is working hard to increase access to those technologies for as many Australians as possible, as a matter of urgency.”

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