RACP highlights importance of diabetes in secondary care

Added: 12 May 2011

In a recent bulletin to Australian Physicians, Richard Thompson, President of the Royal College of Physicians, highlighted the importance of diagnosing and adequately managing diabetes in secondary care settings. 

A recent in-patient audit of over 12,000 patients performed by the Yorkshire and Humber Public Health Observatory in the UK found that patients with diabetes made up 15% of patients admitted to hospital and on average, also spent longer in hospital than non-diabetics.  The report raises concern about the diagnosis and management of diabetes in other countries affected by the same world-wide “epidemic” of obesity and diabetes, including Australia.  The full report is available by clicking here.

Obstructive sleep apnoea (OSA) is a condition where sufferers snore and repeatedly cease breathing during the night.


“More and more research is showing that OSA is an independent risk factor for diabetes (and for most cardiac and cardio-vascular conditions, as well as arterial hypertension),” says Dr John Corbett, Specialist Sleep Physician and Neurologist at SNORE Australia.  “This means that all patients with type 2 diabetes should be screened for OSA, particularly as up to 80% of OSA sufferers do not complain of the classic symptoms of snoring, waking unrefreshed, morning headaches, daytime sleepiness and tiredness.  Their OSA may therefore be harming their health but remain undiagnosed and untreated for many years. There is also a significantly elevated risk of motor vehicle accidents from untreated OSA, especially in patients who drive for a living”, reports Dr Corbett

SNORE Australia operates private-hospital sleep investigation units in Queensland, New South Wales, Victoria and Tasmania, and also offers bulk-billed sleep studies in a number of locations. It works closely with referring doctors to increase awareness of OSA and of its association with diabetes: “We want to educate patients about their condition and encourage them to discuss their diabetes and sleep-related problems with their GP and if one is available, with a Sleep Physician - correct diagnosis and treatment of sleep apnoea with an overnight sleep study can minimise it as a risk factor in diabetic patients, greatly improving both their glucose control and their long-term health and well-being" says Dr Corbett. 

Author: MDH

Dr John Corbett attends to a patient undergoing an overnight sleep study at a SNORE Australia sleep laboratory. 

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