Port Pirie has state's highest diabetes levels

The Spencer Gulf region has some of the highest rates of registered diabetes in the state.

This is according to data from Diabetes Australia, that compares numbers of diagnosed diabetics (Type 1 and Type 2) on the National Diabetes Services Scheme against population.

The Local Council Areas of Port Augusta, Whyalla, Flinders Ranges and Peterborough all appearing in the South Australian top 10, with Port Pirie topping the states levels.

Pamela Kirgianis, a Diabetes SA credentialed educator, said that there seems to be a link between living in a regional area, and a higher rate of Type 2 or lifestyle diabetes.

"South Australia has the second highest rates of diabetes in all of Australia, so we are already at a bit more of a disadvantage there," she said.

"When you zone in more on South Australia, the further out you get from Adelaide the higher the rates start to get."

"As we get further out from Adelaide there a lower consumption of fruits and vegetables, higher rates of smoking, less physical activity, and barriers accessing healthcare.

"Obesity rates increase as you get further out from metro Adelaide.

"There are higher rates of mental health illnesses as well, and there is a link between mental health and diabetes."

Ms Kirgianis said that a higher rate of diabetes could be putting extra pressure on local healthcare systems.

"Whyalla, Port Augusta and Port Pirie have the highest hospital admissions for diabetes," she said.

"That can be quite burdensome on the healthcare system but also on the person themselves."

Ms Kirgianis said prevention and early identification is key.

"The problem is that people can start to develop Type 2 diabetes, and not even be aware of it because systems can be mild to start with and happen over a long period of time," she said.

"If people are not having regular check ups with doctors, their presentation of Type 2 diabetes may not be until complication stage."

Heart attacks, strokes, kidney failure, limb amputations, blindness and nerve damage are all potential complications of Type 2 diabetes.

For more information, or to check your risk calculator visit the Diabetes SA website, or facethefacts.org.au.

Anyone concerned about diabetes should reach out to a healthcare professional.