Diabetes educators are urging locals to check their risk of diabetes to mark National Diabetes Week.
166 people died from diabetes in the south-west from 2012-2016, with the disease ranking in the top ten causes of death in the Warrnambool, Glenelg, Corangamite, Southern Grampians and Moyne LGAs.
South West Health Care's Natasha Prout and Maree Boyle said all types of diabetes are on the rise both locally and nationally.
"All types of diabetes are increasing and it's imposing a cost on the healthcare system," Ms Prout said.
"With a growing population and more multicultural environments we're seeing more cases of diabetes. Around 1.7 million Australians have diabetes and those are only the numbers of those registered on the National Diabetes Services Scheme (NDSS) and everyone is registered so the numbers are likely higher.
"You can get diabetes for all kinds of reasons, it's not just lifestyle choices but genetics, age and being of an ethnic background can all increase the risk of getting diabetes."
Ms Boyle and Ms Prout recommend those concerned about their glucose levels or living with diabetes try FreeStyle Libre, a flash glucose monitoring system.
Removing the hassles of routine finger pricks, the system uses a small sensor which connects to the back of the upper arm for two weeks.
A reader scans the sensor and provides instant glucose results, including an eight-hour history and trend arrow showing if the glucose is going up, down or staying steady.
"They make it easier for us to work out what's going on," Ms Boyle said.
"The sensor measures the interstitial fluid which is the fluid around the blood and can give the person a blood glucose level which will come up on the screen.
"On the screen it will give them a blood glucose level, trending graph and arrow which will let them know whether their blood glucose level is staying even or it's going up or down.
"It can help them change their management or change what they're doing to improve their levels.
"My advice is just to get tested to see if you have diabetes or not, it's easier to treat diabetes when you know that you have it, rather than not know that you have it and then have problems later on develop because you've been ignoring it."
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