Help manage type-2 diabetes

Health cost: Chief investigator Dr Susan Furber (left), pilot participant Jon Roberts and DTEXT program manager Karen Waller. The text message research program aims at helping people with type 2 diabetes.
Health cost: Chief investigator Dr Susan Furber (left), pilot participant Jon Roberts and DTEXT program manager Karen Waller. The text message research program aims at helping people with type 2 diabetes.

Do you have type 2 diabetes and want help to improve your health? Illawarra Shoalhaven Local Health District (ISLHD) is seeking local residents with type 2 diabetes to take part in a new research study called DTEXT (diabetes text).

The Illawarra and Shoalhaven regions have the second highest rate of diabetes in NSW and rates of type 2 diabetes are increasing at an alarming rate.

By 2020 type 2 diabetes is predicted to be the leading contributor to the burden of disease in Australia.

Currently attributing to 9 per cent of hospitalisations, type 2 diabetes can be largely controlled by a healthy lifestyle yet only 50 per cent of people manage their diabetes effectively, 66 per cent do little to no exercise, 93 per cent do not meet dietary guidelines and only 18 per cent complete the recommended diabetes annual cycle of care.

To address this, ISLHD is leading a randomised controlled trial with DTEXT.

Dr Susan Furber, chief investigator of the study said, “Research shows that improving your lifestyle by eating better, being more active and managing your diabetes well, can improve your health and reduce diabetes-related complications.”

DTEXT is currently recruiting 340 residents from the Illawarra and Shoalhaven regions into the trial.

“It is a cost effective, non-invasive intervention with a large population reach that is easily tailored to suit the individual,” said DTEXT program manager Karen Waller. “Participants in the DTEXT program will receive text messages for six months to offer support, motivation and guidance on topics such as physical activity, nutrition, weight, smoking cessation and diabetes self-care. Text messages can be read at a convenient time and place.”

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A pilot of the program has shown promising results and high levels of participant satisfaction.

One pilot participant said, “What I liked about the program was that somebody cared and was there to help. Getting a message every day with helpful hints makes you feel that you are not alone.”

By increasing people’s awareness of diabetes and providing them with information on how to lower their risk of getting diabetes, or self-manage their diabetes is a vital step to curbing disease rates and burden on our community and the health system.

Take part in diabetes study

Diabetes text (DTEXT) is currently recruiting 340 residents from the Illawarra and Shoalhaven regions into the study.

To join you must have type 2 diabetes with an HbA1c of 7 per cent or above, be aged 18 years or older and not be pregnant. You receive $75 for participation.

DTEXT is being run by Illawarra Shoalhaven Local Health District (ISLHD) in partnership with The University of Sydney and funded through a NSW Health Translational Research Grant.

If successful, DTEXT will be translated into the NSW Get Healthy Information and Coaching Service, as well as providing enhanced diabetes care for Illawarra Shoalhaven diabetes services.

If you’d like to take part in the program, contact DTEXT program manager Karen Waller at DTEXT.com.au or please phone 4221 6723 or email ISLHD-DTEXT@health.nsw.gov.au.