When it comes to diabetes, no place is safe. We have featured folks with diabetes from Spain to Germany to Canada and now we're traveling across the globe to Australia to hear from Simon, a 35-year-old with LADA.

Simon lives in South Australia where he works in antiques, and despite living in the sixth largest country in the world (and an entire continent!), he's found that the Australian Diabetes Online Community is pretty small compared to the US.  Not that it stops him: Simon is a popular tweeter and blogs about his life with diabetes at Simon from the 70s. Today, Simon takes us on a quick tour of what diabetes looks like Down Under...

A Guest Post by Simon (last name undisclosed)

Despite the mystique that surrounds our wonderful nation, diabetes has the same feel as it does anywhere in the world. It is unpredictable, hard to manage and inconvenient.

Having enjoyed a childhood free from diabetes, I was initially misdiagnosed as a type 2 diabetic in my early 20s, in the mid 1990s. Like many other late diagnosed type 1s, my diagnosis also proved to be incorrect and following an episode of DKA, I was finally correctly diagnosed with LADA several years later. I currently manage the condition with multiple daily injections of NovoRapid and Lantus.

Like the remainder of the Western world, Australia is also in the middle of a type 2 diabetes epidemic. It is currently estimated that well over 5% of the Australian population (a total of over 1 million people) have diabetes, with roughly 10% of that number living with type 1 diabetes.

Unlike our American counterparts, type 1 diabetes treatment is a little more old fashioned here. It is estimated that less than 10% of type 1 patients use insulin pumps, and CGMS (Continuous Glucose Monitoring Systems) are only just beginning to make an appearance amongst the general population.

Unlike many overseas services, the Australian public healthcare model is easily accessible to all and sundry {editor's note: that's Aussie for 'everybody, collectively and individually'}. Our government affords universal access to free public healthcare and has recently introduced a diabetes-specific program called NDSS (National Diabetes Services Scheme). The goal is to provide greater access to allied health services to diabetic patients including podiatry, dentistry, physiotherapy and diabetic educators. The Public Medicare scheme is funded via a levy imposed on all taxpayers according to their income.

Private healthcare is available through a number of different funds, on an individual choice basis. These funds offer quicker and heavily subsidized treatments. However, they also involve out-of-pocket expenses which are not a part of the Public system. Whilst the take up of private care is ever increasing, the availability of the Public system means that in general, healthcare is within reach of all the population regardless of income or social status.

The Diabetes Online Community is much smaller here in Australia than in the United States. Whilst there are a few diabetes-specific forums, there are fewer bloggers and less of an online presence of diabetics in general. That being said, I have been lucky to have had limited involvement with the main type 1 specific Australian forum Reality Check, and have found their voluntary work second to none in helping to connect and educate those, like myself, living with insulin-dependent diabetes.

My involvement with the diabetes online community as a blogger and on Twitter has brought home to me the universal nature of the struggles facing many diabetics. Regardless of location, age or creed, all of us require help managing the illness either professionally or through personal interaction at some time. Fortunately, here in Australia, the professional side of treatment is easily accessible. However, there is little advertised provision of social services like those we enjoy online.

All things considered, I count myself very lucky to live in a country with universally accessible healthcare. Whilst there are always negative stories, our national model makes living with diabetes that little bit easier than it might otherwise be.

We envy you, Simon — also for your formal writing style. A relic of the '70s? Or just a better national use of the English language? ;)

Disclaimer: Content created by the Diabetes Mine team. For more details click here.


This content is created for Diabetes Mine, a consumer health blog focused on the diabetes community. The content is not medically reviewed and doesn't adhere to Healthline's editorial guidelines. For more information about Healthline's partnership with Diabetes Mine, please click here.