Diabetes - Know your risk, know your response

“Over 420 million people worldwide have diabetes”. World Health Organisation

In Australia, Diabetes Australia describes diabetes as an “epidemic of the 21st century” and the biggest challenge confronting our health system, as 5.5% of the population or 2 million Australians are known and registered on the National Diabetes Services Scheme.

It is a chronic disease that occurs when the pancreas does not produce enough insulin, a hormone that regulates blood glucose, or when the body cannot effectively use the insulin it produces.

It is a major cause of blindness, kidney failure, heart attack, stroke, and lower limb amputation.

As many as 500,000 people in Australia are living with undiagnosed type 2 diabetes.

This World Diabetes Day on 14 November we want you to “Know your risk, know your response”.

“Type 1 diabetes cannot be prevented or delayed, but evidence shows type 2 diabetes can be in many cases, by maintaining a healthy weight, being physically active and following a healthy eating plan,” says Prof Matthew Watt, Head of the Department of Anatomy and Physiology, and metabolism and diabetes expert.

“Researchers are working to improve the lives of the 2 million Australians now living with diabetes, however greater education about how to stop type 2 diabetes from developing in the first place is a critical step for protecting future generations,” he says.

In this Pursuit Article titled, Q&A: A new way to treat Type 2 Diabetes, Professor Matthew Watt and Dr Magdalene Montgomery, explain how a new class of SMOCI-based treatments could prove more effective, and what it means for those living with this underestimated killer.

Find out your risk of developing type 2 diabetes within the next five years using the Diabetes Australia Risk Calculator.

In early 2022, it was announced that The University of Melbourne will lead one of two new national research centres – the Australian Centre for Accelerating Diabetes Innovations (ACADI) aimed at improving the lives of people living with diabetes.

ACADI has built a national multi-sector collaboration of 70 partners from clinical, research, industry and community organisations across all Australian States and Territories.

University of Melbourne Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Research) Professor James McCluskey said at the time “The funding will support Australia in being a global leader addressing many of the serious complications of diabetes. The centre will be established for the long term, to bring continuing benefit to people living with diabetes, the diabetes professional community and the national economy.”

Prof Erica Fletcher’s research is working to assist those Australians living with diabetes who develop diabetic eye disease. This research is crucial for those with type 1 or type 2 diabetes as almost everyone with type 1 diabetes and more than 60 per cent of those with type 2 diabetes will form some form of diabetic eye disease within 20 years of diagnosis. Diabetes affects 2 million Australians, with 280 people developing the disease every day.

Learn more about some of the school's research in Diabetes and metabolism at the School of Biomedical Science Metabolism Seminar Series in which A/Prof Garron Dodd will unveil the latest breakthroughs from his laboratory.

“The introduction of incretin-based medications such as Ozemic, Saxenda, and Mounjaro has ignited fresh hope for millions worldwide battling type-2 diabetes and obesity,” shared A/Prof Garron Dodd. “However, recent evidence raises concerns about their long-term effectiveness and their ineffectiveness in severely obese and type-2 diabetic patients, and the discontinuation of these medications appears to lead to a rapid rebound in their beneficial effects”. His team has discovered brain mechanisms that can amplify the actions of these incretin-based drugs, potentially enhancing their efficacy in combating obesity and type-2 diabetes.

The Metabolism Seminar Series will be running on Tuesday 14th November from 12-1PM in the ESJ King Theatre, L3 Medical Building.