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Diabetes is quickly moving up the scale of problems most commonly managed by doctors each year in general practice- according to a new report released today by the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare. Diabetes has jumped from number 12 to the eighth most common problem managed over the last ten years.
General practice activity in Australia 1999-2000 details about 100,000 doctor-patient encounters from a sample of 1000 GPs. It gives an insight into why people visit their GP, the health problems GPs manage, and what types of treatments general practice patients receive.
Director of the AIHW's General Practice Statistics and Classification Unit, Professor Helena Britt, said the significant increase in the management of diabetes was probably due to higher GP and community awareness of the need to detect and control the disease.
'Recent awareness campaigns and establishment of the AIHW's National Diabetes Register mean that people are now helping to complete a much-needed picture of diabetes in Australia, Professor Britt said. 'There's also the fact that many Divisions of General Practice are running diabetes shared care programs so there's a greater awareness among doctors and this certainly plays a part in early detection and management of the disease.
'Broadly, GPs today appear to be the gatekeepers in our health care system. They handle a wide range of problems every day-from the ongoing management of high blood pressure, to treating common colds, and bronchitis-to managing chronic illnesses such as heart disease, diabetes, osteoarthritis and cancer.'
Other findings from General practice activity in Australia 1999-00 include:
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