Olympic gold medallist, Cathy Freeman has joined a campaign to reduce the rates of diabetes among Australians.
By
Myles Morgan

Source:
NITV News
16 Jun 2014 - 4:50 PM  UPDATED 24 Feb 2015 - 3:04 PM

Cathy Freeman is one of many Australians living with Type 2 diabetes.

“It is Australia's fastest growing disease, one of our most chronic diseases and it's a disease which has to be taken very seriously,” she said in Parliament House today.

Indigenous Australians are three times more likely to develop the disease than non-Indigenous people.

In remote areas, this rate of prevalence can be up to eight times as likely.

Ms Freeman is urging the Government to subsidise a test which would make diabetes easier to recognise.

She says it will also make put patients at ease when visiting the doctor.

“I think it's less daunting. Being in the hands of nurses and doctors can be daunting but there's real security and safety in knowing that Australian pathology is world class," she said.

But she can't force Indigenous people to see a doctor.

“The change has to start in your own mind and allow yourself to prioritise your health,” said Miss Freeman.

This Glycosylated Haemoglobin Blood Test is already covered under the Medicare Benefits Schedule, but physicians say that's only when it's done to monitor diabetes and not detect it.

Experts say funding this test will save the Government money. It is unknown when Health Minister Peter Dutton will make a final decision on its implementation.