Understanding Diabetes: A Focus on Queensland in 2024

Diabetes is a chronic condition that affects how the body processes blood sugar (glucose). In Australia, diabetes is a significant health concern, and Queensland (QLD) is no exception. This blog aims to provide an educational overview of diabetes, its impact on Queenslanders, and current statistics for 2024. Diabetes is where the body either cannot produce enough insulin or cannot effectively use the insulin it produces. Insulin is a hormone that regulates blood sugar. There are three main types of diabetes:

Type 1 diabetes is an autoimmune condition where the immune system mistakenly destroys the insulin-producing cells in the pancreas. The exact cause of this autoimmune response is unknown, and it is not associated with modifiable lifestyle factors. Currently, there is no cure or way to prevent type 1 diabetes.
On the other hand, type 2 diabetes is a condition where the body becomes resistant to insulin and gradually loses the ability to produce enough of it. This condition has strong genetic and family-related risk factors, which are non-modifiable, but is also linked to lifestyle factors that can be modified, such as diet and physical activity. While the precise genetic causes of type 2 diabetes are not fully understood, changes in diet and increased physical activity can significantly slow or even stop the progression of the disease. In fact, about half of the people with recently diagnosed type 2 diabetes can achieve remission through intensive dietary changes and weight loss. Gestational diabetes mellitus (GDM) is a form of diabetes that occurs during pregnancy, marked by higher-than-normal blood glucose levels. Most women with GDM return to normal glucose levels after childbirth, though some may continue to have elevated blood glucose levels post-delivery. GDM is diagnosed when elevated blood glucose levels are first detected during pregnancy.

Diabetes in Queensland: 2024 Statistics

In 2024, diabetes continues to be a major health issue in Queensland. Current statistics indicate:

  • Total Cases: Approximately 320,000 Queenslanders are living with diabetes.
  • Type 1 Diabetes: Around 24,000 people.
  • Type 2 Diabetes: Approximately 290,000 people.
  • Gestational Diabetes: About 6% of pregnant women in Queensland develop gestational diabetes each year.


  • New Cases: An estimated 15,000 new cases of diabetes are diagnosed annually in Queensland.
  • Age Distribution: Type 2 diabetes is more prevalent in adults over 45, but there is a rising number of cases among younger adults and even children, largely due to lifestyle factors. 

Regional Differences

  • Urban vs Rural: Diabetes prevalence is higher in rural and remote areas compared to urban areas. Limited access to healthcare services and lifestyle factors contribute to this disparity.

Risk Factors

Several risk factors contribute to the development of diabetes:

  1. Genetic Factors: Family history of diabetes increases the risk.
  2. Lifestyle Factors: Poor diet, physical inactivity, and obesity are significant contributors.
  3. Age: The risk of type 2 diabetes increases with age, particularly after 45.
  4. Ethnicity: Certain ethnic groups have a higher risk, including Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people.
  5. Pregnancy: Women who have had gestational diabetes are at higher risk for type 2 diabetes later in life.

Impact on Health

Diabetes can lead to serious health complications if not managed effectively:

  • Cardiovascular Disease: Increased risk of heart disease and stroke.
  • Kidney Disease: Diabetes is a leading cause of chronic kidney disease.
  • Vision Problems: Diabetic retinopathy can cause blindness.
  • Nerve Damage: Neuropathy, leading to pain and numbness, particularly in the feet.
  • Amputations: Severe infections can lead to limb amputations.

Management and Prevention

Effective management of diabetes involves:

  1. Monitoring Blood Sugar Levels: Regular monitoring helps maintain blood glucose within target ranges.
  2. Healthy Eating: A balanced diet rich in fruits, vegetables, and whole grains, and low in sugar and saturated fats.
  3. Physical Activity: Regular exercise helps maintain a healthy weight and improves insulin sensitivity.
  4. Medications: Insulin therapy for type 1 diabetes and various oral medications for type 2 diabetes.
  5. Regular Check-ups: Routine medical visits to monitor and manage complications.

Support and Resources in Queensland

Queensland offers several resources for people living with diabetes:

  • Diabetes Queensland: Provides education, support, and advocacy.
  • Queensland Health: Offers various programs and services to manage and prevent diabetes.
  • Community Health Services: Local health services provide support and management programs.

Diabetes remains a critical public health issue in Queensland. Understanding the prevalence, risk factors, and management strategies is essential for reducing its impact. By 2025, it is projected that 3 to 4 out of every 10 adults with diabetes in Queensland will be unaware of their condition, highlighting the need for continued education, support, and access to healthcare. With these efforts, Queensland can work towards better management and prevention of diabetes.

For more detailed information and support, visit Diabetes Queensland and Queensland Health