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Australians Opt for DIY Kits to Test for Diabetes

To visit doctors to check for diabetes? No, thank you, we can do it on our own, Australians seem to be saying increasingly .

THOUSANDS of Australian shoppers are turning to supermarket shelves to get the do-it-yourself (DIY) kits. More than 39,000 of them, which measure blood sugar levels, have been sold over the past 14 months.

Diabetes is the country's fastest-growing illness, with about 1.4 million sufferers.

Experts are divided over the self-diagnosis trend: supporters claim it improves public awareness and critics insist professional medical advice is needed.

Latest figures reveal that New South Wales residents have bought the largest amount of Betacheck tests, accounting for more than 40 per cent of total Australian sales.

Health-conscious Sydneysiders were the most likely to buy the $15 kit from retail giants Woolworths or Coles, which sold out in many stores.

But pharmacy sales were dominated by people living in outer suburbs, including Penrith, Campbelltown, Blacktown and Liverpool.

Customer feedback revealed the main reasons for purchasing the product were health awareness and having a family history of diabetes.

Diabetes Australia has raised concerns about the DIY test, claiming it is not always accurate and that people should only be diagnosed by their doctors.

But Professor Bernie Tuch, an endocrinologist at Prince of Wales Hospital in Sydney, believes the kit is a good way of increasing detection and raising awareness about diabetes.

He diagnosed himself with the condition through a blood glucose tester.

He said people needed to see a medical professional as they were also likely to have other conditions, such as cardiovascular disease.

Central Coast resident Delia Lazo found out she had pre-diabetes, which means her blood sugar levels were higher than normal and she was likely to develop diabetes, by taking a Betacheck test last year.

She says she is managing to stave off the condition by following a healthier diet and lifestyle, while monitoring her blood sugar levels.


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