Monday, 4th November 2013 at 9:38 am
Almost half of Australians who have a disability and diabetes say they are permanently unable to work, according to a report released by the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare.
The report, Diabetes and disability: impairments, activity limitations, participation restrictions and comorbidities, also shows that people with diabetes are twice as likely to have a disability as people without diabetes and that more serious disabilities are more common in people with diabetes.
AIHW says disability refers to any impairment, activity limitation or participation restriction. This could range from minor restrictions in everyday activities to profound sensory loss such as sight.
The most common disability was restriction in physical activities or work, and AIHW spokesperson Susana Senes said the combination of diabetes and disability had a big impact on employment participation.
“Among working-age people with diabetes and disability, 40 per cent said they were permanently unable to work, compared with 20 per cent of people with a disability who did not have diabetes,” Senes said.
More serious disabilities are described as severe or profound core activity limitations – meaning that a person sometimes or always needs help with one or more core activities of daily living – activities related to mobility, communication and self-care.
“Rates of disability among people with diabetes were 39 per cent compared with 17 per cent for those without diabetes, after adjusting for age differences,” Senes said.
“And the rate of severe or profound limitation among people with diabetes was 14 per cent compared with five per cent for those without diabetes.
“While there is clearly an association between diabetes and disability, from this data we are unable to draw any conclusions about the causes of this association.”
Senes said in 2009, an estimated 827,020 people in Australia had diabetes.
“Of these, 357,829 reported that diabetes was the health condition causing them the most problems. Of all people with diabetes, 441,640 reported they had a disability,” she said.
The AIHW is a national agency set up by the Federal Government to provide regular and relevant information and statistics on Australia's health and welfare.