Australian Diabetes Congress 2022 turns the spotlight on the latest breakthroughs

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The Australian Diabetes Congress 2022 once again brought to light the effects of diabetes on the health system, but there were positives in the latest breakthroughs in research, education and clinical care.

The national Diabetes Services Scheme (NDSS) recorded 118,800 and over 119,000 new registrants between March 2020–2021 and March 2021–2022 – the highest recorded number of any 12-month period.

According to national body Diabetes Australia, one in five Australians will develop diabetes with 280 Australians diagnosed daily.

Currently, around 1.8 million Australians have diabetes and more than 120,000 have developed diabetes in the past year.

Diabetes is now the fastest growing chronic condition in Australia.

The result of this is immense pressure on the health system – more pressure than heart disease and cancer.

What you may not know is there are several types of diabetes and each is contributing to the strain.

Diabetes Australia figures show:

  • Type 1 diabetes accounts for 10% of all diabetes and is increasing
  • Type 2 diabetes accounts for 85% of all diabetes and is increasing
  • Gestational diabetes in pregnancy is increasing

What’s the cost
Diabetes Australia Group CEO Justine Cain highlighted the overall cost to society, saying “The Australian health system spends $2.5 billion per annum directly on diabetes.

“On top of this diabetes is a leading cause of heart disease, which costs the health system more than $2 billion per annum, chronic kidney disease which costs $1.7 billion and stroke which costs $660 million.

“These four conditions combined cost the Australian healthcare system $6.86 billion every single year. 

Policy, outcomes and research required to reduce impact
So, what can be done to diminish the cost impact as well as health impacts of diabetes.
In August, industry experts came together at the Brisbane Convention & Exhibition Centre, in Queensland for the Australian Diabetes Congress 2022 to discuss diabetes management, solutions, research and treatments.

Several hot topics were discussed. Topics included: Safety and Effectiveness of a Well-formulated Ketogenic Diet in Type 2 Diabetics. Presented by Rachelle Martin and Robert Casson, the pair investigated the safety and efficacy of a well-formulated ketogenic diet (WFKD) in individuals with T2DM under dietary management in a clinical setting. 

The presentation stated: With nutritional support, a WFKD diet is a safe and powerful tool to achieve weight loss and improve T2DM control. Long-term studies are required to determine sustainability and the effect on T2DM-related complications.

Diabetes in the age of COVID-19 was a hot topic.

The presentation Evaluating diurnal glycaemic profiles in patients with COVID-19 treated with dexamethasone: a retrospective observational study by Shejil Kumar, Ruby Chang, Mariah Melek and Terrence Diamond highlighted that COVID-19 infection and high-dose dexamethasone both predispose patients to hyperglycaemia, an independent risk factor for severity and mortality.

The presentation stated: Data is scarce regarding dexamethasone effect on diurnal glycaemic variation in COVID-19 and is needed to provide insights into how to best manage and prevent hyperglycaemia and improve associated outcomes.

Another COVID presentation focused on ‘The Impact of Diabetes and Hyperglycaemia amongst Hospitalised Patients with COVID-19’. The aim of the research was to assess the impact of diabetes and hyperglycaemia on hospital outcomes among patients with COVID-19.

In an important finding, the authors stated “There is a high prevalence of diabetes amongst patients hospitalised with COVID-19. Patients with diabetes have worse outcomes, but in contrast to previous studies, the effect on mortality was not significant when adjusted for other variables. This is possibly related to the benefits of vaccination and current medical and ICU interventions.”

Away from COVID, David Phipps of York University spoke on Research to real world - the importance and role of knowledge translation and research impact in diabetes care and how clinicians fit into the puzzle.

Other topics included exercise and diabetes management, type 1 diabetes and technology, liver disease and diabetes, primary care, acute and chronic complications, lifestyle medicine and behavioural change, atypical and secondary diabetes, gastrointestinal hormones and metabolism, diabetes and pregnancy, intervention to prevention, cardiometabolic medicine, psychological health, oral healthcare, managing complications, inpatient management and much more.

There were a range of outstanding speakers all working in unison to find best care practices for people living with diabetes and those affected on the periphery.

To give you an idea of just how diverse the range of speakers was and how far and wide they had travelled here’s a list of keynote speakers:

  • Professor Timothy – Skinner La Trobe University
  • Professor Hindrik – Mulder Lund University
  • Professor Sadaf Farooqi – University of Cambridge
  • Professor Melanie Davies – University of Leicester
  • Professor Gerry Rayman – Diabetes Centre, Ipswich Hospitals NHS Trust
  • Sian Graham – Menzies School of Health Research
  • Professor Louise Maple-Brown – Menzies School of Health Research
  • Dr Louise Schofield – PreKure
  • Professor Mike Riddell – York University

Thinking about attending in 2023
For those thinking about attending in 2023, the Australian Diabetes Congress you can hear and discuss the latest research and insights into clinical practice. Or sit in on inspiring keynotes and participate in knowledge exchange sessions. Attendance also contributes to CPD points.

No matter whether you are a clinical practitioner, an endocrinologist, nurse, or allied health professional, there is always something to learn.

For more information: Australian Diabetes Congress 2022