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Disability Rates Twice as High for Australians with Diabetes


30 October 2013 at 3:30 pm
Staff Reporter
People with diabetes are twice as likely to have a disability as people without diabetes, according to a report released by the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare (AIHW).

Staff Reporter | 30 October 2013 at 3:30 pm


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Disability Rates Twice as High for Australians with Diabetes
30 October 2013 at 3:30 pm

People with diabetes are twice as likely to have a disability as people without diabetes, according to a report released by the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare (AIHW).

The report, Diabetes and disability: impairments, activity limitations, participation restrictions and comorbidities, also shows 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.

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,' AIHW spokesperson Susana Senes said.

“And the rate of severe or profound limitation among people with diabetes was 14 per cent compared with 5 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.”

The most common disability was restriction in physical activities or work, and 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,” she 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.

“Compared with people without diabetes, people with diabetes also reported higher rates of high blood pressure, high cholesterol, heart disease, stroke, depression, vision loss and kidney related disorders.

“Ten per cent of people with diabetes reported having had a stroke and more than 15 per cent reported having heart disease.”

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.

Full publication: Diabetes and disability: impairments, activity limitations, participation restrictions and comorbidities


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