Alarming Diabetes Statistics in Australia 


January 9, 2024

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Diabetes, often regarded as a silent epidemic, is growing at an alarming rate worldwide — and Australia is no exception.

Due to a smaller population, the rate of diabetes in Australia seems low, but it has risen rapidly, especially for the type 2 variant. Apart from the 1.7 million Aussies who have been diagnosed with diabetes, countless more have no clue that they may be battling the chronic ailment.

As people are still confused about the severity of this disease, we thought of compiling some statistics about diabetes in Australia. We hope these work as an alarm call to those who might be susceptible to its devastating effects.

So, without further ado, let’s learn more.

Number of diabetics in Australia

  • In 2021, almost 1 in 5 Australians aged 80–84 were living with diabetes, which was almost 30 times as high as for those aged under 40 (0.7%)
  • In 2021, the prevalence of diabetes was 5.3% or 1.3 million people in Australia
  • The most common type of diabetes was Type 2 diabetes, which represented 85 to 90% of all cases of diabetes and is increasing each year
  • Almost 1.3 million Australians are currently living with type 2 diabetes
  • The Australian Health Survey conducted in 2011-12 found that 4.0% of the total population reported having been told by a health professional that they had diabetes and that it was long-term
  • The prevalence of diabetes in Australia is estimated to have more than doubled since 1981
  • In 2018, around 8% of Indigenous Australians were living with diabetes

Key Diabetes Statistics Of Australia 

Leading studies, surveys, and data analyses by the Australian government and independent organisations have published data about people dealing with diabetes. Here are some of the most notable facts:

  • Currently, around 1.7 million people, which amounts to 6.6% of the Australian population, are impacted by diabetes. 
  • A whopping 2 million or more people are thought to be pre-diabetic, and 550,000 more are suspected of having undetected type 2 diabetes. 
  • Due to the unstable sugar levels, 1 in 2 people is unable to sleep properly. 
  • 1 to 6 Australians over the age of 25 have the chance of being affected by pre-diabetes. 
  • In Australia, 1 out of 7 pregnant women is diagnosed with gestational diabetes. 
  • It’s said that around 280 Australians are diagnosed with diabetes every day, which amounts to one Aussie every 5 minutes. 
  • Every year Australia, as a whole, has to spend around $14.6 billion on care for diabetes. 
  • In 2018, around 16,700 deaths in the country were said to be caused by diabetes, which amounted to 10.50% of all deaths in Australia. 
  • When talking about diabetic amputations taking place in the developed world, Australia comes to have the second-highest rate, with over 4,400 amputations happening per year. 
  • With proper lifestyle changes, 6 out of 10 Australians have the ability to reverse the diagnosis of pre-diabetes. 
  • Type 2 diabetes is considered the sixth leading cause of death in Australia. 
  • Australia occupies the seventh position among the top countries having the most people diagnosed with type 1 diabetes. 
  • It has been found that indigenous Australians are almost 4 times more susceptible to developing type 2 diabetes compared with non-Indigenous Australians. 

Stats For The Different Types Of Diabetes 

After looking at the overall statistics, let’s check out how the various types of diabetes that affect the lives of Australians.

1. Type 1 diabetes statistics

  • At least 10-15% of people diagnosed with diabetes in Australia are type 1 diabetics, which stands for almost 127,000 Aussies
  • Between 2000 and 2018, the incidence rate has jumped to 1.4 times higher for 0 to 14-year-olds than 15 to 24-year-olds.  
  • The incidence rate of type 1 diabetes has also been found to be 3.6 times as high as for those in the 25+ age bracket. 

2. Type 2 diabetes statistics

  • 87% of the Aussie diabetics are diagnosed with the type 2 variant. 
  • Taking the help of proper exercise and diet can prevent or delay the onset of type 2 diabetes in 60% of Australian diabetics. 

3. Gestational Diabetes 

  • Women with gestational diabetes are more likely to face pre-eclampsia or hypertension. 
  • A 2017 study on women who gave birth in hospitals revealed that 15% of those between 15 and 49 were affected by gestational diabetes, which is over 40,800 women. 

4. Pre-diabetes 

  • 6 out of 10 pre-diabetics may reduce the chance of developing type 2 diabetes by losing 7.5% of their current body weight.

Prevalence Of Diabetes Among Australian Adults 

1. Obese Men And Women 

  • Compared to overweight men and those within the underweight or normal weight range, obese men have a 12% higher chance of developing type 2 diabetes. 
  • Obese women have an 8% chance of developing type 2 diabetes, making them twice as likely to be diagnosed as overweight women. 

2. The Elderly 

  • 1 in 6 people over the age of 65 reports having been diagnosed with type 2 diabetes.
  • The percentage of being affected with type 2 diabetes has risen to almost a fifth for those over the age of 85. 
  • People between the ages of 65 and 74 are said to have 3 times higher risk of developing type 2 diabetes than those between the ages of 45 and 54. 
  • The rate is 1.5 times higher for those between the ages of 55 and 64. 

Australia’s Diabetes Statistics Compared To The World 

Here's the data denoting the position of Australia and the country's struggles with diabetes in regard to the rest of the world

1. Worldwide Ranking 

  • In 2013, diabetes caused 1.5 million deaths around the world, while an additional 2.2 million deaths were caused by high blood glucose levels.
  • Australia occupies the 55th position in the ranking for having the most diabetic individuals, with a current rate of 25,788,215. 
  • The top ranking countries are China with 1,444,216,107 individuals, India with 1,393,409,038 individuals , and the USA with 332,915,073 individuals. 

2. Type 1 Diabetes Rate 

  • In 2013, Finland was the country with the most type 1 diabetics, with a percentage of 57.6 for every 100,000 people. 
  • Australia held the 7th position with a rate of 22.5 for every 100,000 people as of 2013.
  • 24% of all children living with type 1 diabetes are from the European region. 

3. Gestational Diabetes Rate 

  • Australia has a lower rate of gestational diabetes, and currently, only 14.4% of women develop hyperglycemia while pregnant. 
  • The highest-ranking country in gestational diabetes is the UAE, with a rate of 37.5%. 
  • Around 20 million pregnancies, which amount to 16% of live births worldwide, are said to be affected by hyperglycemia. 
  • The highest level of gestational diabetes is found in the Middle East and North Africa, with an average of 12.9%. 

4. Rate Of Diabetes in Indigenous Australians

  • Around 7.9% or about 64,100 Indigenous Australians are susceptible to developing type 2 diabetes. 
  • Aboriginal women are 2 times more at risk of developing gestational diabetes than other Australian women. 
  • Compared to their non-indigenous peers, aboriginal children are 8 times more likely to develop type 2 diabetes. 
  • Aboriginal people have a 6 times more chance of dying from diabetes-related complications than non-indigenous Australians. 

5. Diabetes In Children 

  • Around 11,000 Australian children and teenagers live with diabetes, mostly diagnosed with the type 1 variant.  
  • Cases of type 2 diabetes are also rising in children and teenagers ‒ the current number in Australia is said to be 1,000 individuals aged 20 or under. 
  • As of 2017, around 6,500 children in the age range of 0-14 were diagnosed with type 1 diabetes, which roughly stands for 141 in 100,000 children.

Impact Of Diabetes On Australians 

After going through the rates of diabetes, you must be wondering about their implications on the country, so here are some facts reflecting the long-term effects:

1. Hospitalisations 

  • Every year in Australia, around 10,000 hospital admissions take place due to foot ulcers that developed from diabetes — a typical side effect of the disease. 
  • Between 2017 and 2018, it was noticed that potentially preventable hospitalisations due to diabetes-related complications rose by 4%. 
  • A report suggests that around 12,928 potentially preventable hospitalisations ended in 76,800 days spent in hospital beds in just one year.

2. Deaths 

  • In 2005, around 1,000 diabetic people succumbed to foot ulcers and other wounds in the lower limbs, leading to 8% of all diabetes-related deaths.
  • Around 65-80% of the people diagnosed with diabetes every day (almost 300) die due to coronary heart disease. 

3. Amputation 

  • Every year almost 4,400 amputations take place in Australia due to diabetes-related complications — which places the country in the second position in the developed world. 
  • In 2011, approximately 1.7% of those diagnosed with diabetes had lower limb amputations, totalling around 12,300 affected individuals. 

4. Healthcare Costs 

  • An individual spends around $23,555 on an average for diabetes-related limb amputation, amounting to approximately $103 million to take care of 4,400 yearly cases. 
  • Around $1.6 billion is spent every year by the Australian healthcare system to care for diabetes-induced foot problems. 
  • The annual healthcare cost for a person with type 1 diabetes is around $4,669. 
  • Diabetics with micro or macrovascular complications may have to shell out up to $16,698 every year. 

Final Words 

That's everything we had to tell you about the state of diabetes in Australia. The alarming growth rate, especially regarding type 2 diabetes, urges us to care for ourselves. 

We are seeing constant progress from the Australian healthcare system as it tries to beat this chronic disease. However, it is the responsibility of each citizen to take a healthier route to prevent the onset of type 2 diabetes. And we hope that our guide has helped you understand the severity of this issue.

Needless to say, those already diagnosed with diabetes should follow their doctors' advice and keep themselves safe from injuries, particularly in the lower limb region. As they say — an apple a day keeps a doctor away. And indeed, you can eat better and make healthier choices to keep diabetes-related problems at bay!

Read also: Australian sleep statistics.