One-quarter of Melbourne hospital inpatients have diabetes


Alfred experts say the prevalence of diabetes in Melbourne hospitals is higher than previously thought, as an Australian-first study finds as many as one in four inpatients are affected by the chronic condition.

Study lead and deputy director of endocrinology and diabetes at The Alfred, Professor Leon Bach, says the results highlight an increasing problem in our community.

"We are seeing an extraordinary number of patients come in with diabetes," Prof Bach said.  "The findings show these patients are heavier, remain in hospital longer than those without diabetes, and more than 80 per cent already have at least one complication of the condition.

"These complications typically include damage to the heart, circulation, kidneys, eyes and nerves."

Professor Bach says the findings highlight the need to help patients actively manage their diabetes, which has reached epidemic proportions.

"Optimising assistance for these complex patients has the potential to decrease length of stay in hospitals, as well as prevent or delay future complications," Professor Bach said. 

The study, published today in the Medical Journal of Australia, surveyed 2308 adult inpatients throughout eleven hospitals in metropolitan Melbourne - each on a single day between November 2010 and November 2012.

Did you know?

  • More than two million Australians have pre-diabetes
  • Up to 60 per cent of type 2 diabetes can be prevented by implementing simple lifestyle measures