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China, Australia share diabetes data

Some anti-diabetes drugs appear to work better in Asians than in white patients, which could help in the treatment of Chinese-Australians.

A group of 200 people from the Chinese Diabetes Organisation attended the annual scientific meeting in Adelaide of the Australian Diabetes Society (ADS) and the Australian Diabetes Educators Association (ADEA).

"This is the first time we have had such a large overseas delegation," ADS president associate professor Sof Andrikopoulos told AAP.

More than 100 million Chinese citizens have diabetes, a slightly higher percentage of the population than in Australia, which has about 1.2 million diabetics.

"The delegation's leader, professor Haipeng Xiao, pointed out the population of Chinese people with diabetes is four or five times the whole population of Australia," Andrikopoulos said.

Xiao and his team presented new information on the causes of and treatments for diabetes in Chinese people, which Andrikopoulos said could greatly benefit local professionals.

"There is a significant population of Asian Australians with diabetes that our health system is managing," Andrikopoulos said. "The new research showed there is a class of anti-diabetes drugs, DPP-4 inhibitors, that seem to work better in Asians than in [white patients] with diabetes."

Diabetes also is managed slightly differently in Asian populations because of differences in insulin resistance.

"Our health professionals who are treating Australian Asians with diabetes need to know these differences so we can tailor the management to the individual," Andrikopoulos said.

ADEA chief executive Joanne Ramadge said the diabetes education process also was different in Asian populations.

"Chinese patients often rely on self-directed learning of diabetes management skills or come together for peer learning and support," Ramadge said.

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