IT has been estimated that 1.7 million of Australians over the age of 18 have diabetes.
One person develops diabetes every five minutes in this country.

The disease is the fastest growing chronic condition in Australia and increasing at a faster rate than other chronic diseases such as heart disease and cancer. It has been described as the epidemic of the 21st century.

It is the leading cause of preventable blindness in Australia and results in more than 4,000 amputations every year.

However, it is treatable and most these complications can be treated if the condition is diagnosed early.

An initial discussion with your GP may involve basic blood tests and, if diabetes is diagnosed, rigorous follow-up and patient discipline is required.

Symptoms can be vague, such as tiredness, fatigue or erectile dysfunction in men, but often there are no discernible symptoms and the only way to be diagnosed is through a GP examination.

An annual check-up is recommended but anyone with high risk factors such as a family history (first or second degree relatives) of diabetes or obesity should see their GP more frequently.