22 Jun 2004, 05:05:41 PM

Reporter: Dr John D'Arcy

With 1.2 million Australians suffering Type 2 diabetes and 600 thousand unaware they have it and the consequences of this epidemic in terms of heart disease, kidneys disease, blindness and amputation are overpowering.

Add to this the 100 thousand young Australians who suffer Type 1 diabetes which comes on suddenly and which is fatal if not treated then Australian people are suffering the most significant health impact ever.

In the past its always been thought that Type 1 diabetes was incurable, the ability to transplant pancreatic cells has shown that for a very small proportion of people that suffer it that its simply not true. But everyone agrees there is a long way to go and there is an urgent need for research into a cure for the majority of these sufferers.

With Type 2 diabetes usually associated with age and an increase in weight equally there was a feeling that the condition was incurable. The ability to turn the ship around is a real bonus for everybody who is about to suffer or is in the early stages of suffering diabetes Type 2.

For more information on the detection and treatment of diabetes, call Diabetes Australia on 1300 136 588. For information on diabetes research, visit the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation website – www.jdrf.org.au