Information Bulletin 83

April 2007

This Information Bulletin is also available to download as a PDF: 200704.pdf 


Dear Brothers in Ministry
The Global Diabetes Epidemic
What is Diabetes
Type 2 Diabetes
Prostate Health Care
Physical and Emotional Health of Priests

Dear Brothers in Ministry

It's Tuesday in Holy Week. There was a time when the pace of Holy Week out-stripped the tempo of all other weeks except perhaps Christmas. But that seems not to be the case any more. For a whole host of reasons, the past twenty years have seen the pace accelerate for almost every week of the year. Easter - as beautiful and hope-filled as it is - simply creates a different configuration of pressures.

As a result, we find little time each day of the year for other things that are important to our long-term well-being. By not making time for disciplined regular exercise and by eating poorly ‘on the run' etc., we leave ourselves open to Type 2 diabetes. Diabetes is today a global problem: there were 30 million cases identified globally in 1985 rising to 246 million in 2007!

Our way of life may make us candidates for diabetes. When our descriptors include ageing, over work, high stress, a sedentary lifestyle, little vigorous exercise, poor diet, and perhaps a family history, we won't avoid it easily, except by active prevention. Another area of concern addressed here relates to prostate health.

Read the story of type 2 diabetes and prostate care, kindly compiled by Dr Shannon Doyle BSc, MA (Psych), MB BS. Shannon gives us good diabetes prevention advice: "eat properly (perhaps invest in a house-keeper), see your doctor tomorrow, start exer-cising today. There are too few priests already!"

With every blessing for Easter.

Frank Devoy, Director
{/slide} {slide=Global Diabetes Epidemic}


  • The incidence of type 2 diabetes has risen glob-ally from 30 million in 1985 to 246 million this year.
  • Every 10 seconds a person dies from diabetes-related causes; in the same 10 seconds, 2 people develop diabetes.
  • Diabetes is the fourth leading cause of global death by disease.
  • On average, people with type 2 diabetes will die 5-10 years earlier than those without it.
  • At least 50% of all people with diabetes are unaware of their condition; in some countries, 80%.
  • Approximately 700,000 persons (3.6% of the Australian population in 2004-05) had diabetes; 83% having type 2. The number of adults with diabetes has more than doubled in Australia since 1981. It is a major cause of death.


Diabetes is a condition where the body is unable to regulate blood glucose levels, resulting in too much sugar in the blood.

There are 2 types of diabetes: Type 1 & Type 2.

  • Type 1 Diabetes develops when the pancreas stops producing insulin - ‘childhood diabetes'.
  • Type 2 Diabetes develops when the body be- comes resistant to insulin, and does not respond properly to it - ‘adult onset diabetes'.

The majority of people with diabetes have type 2 diabetes. This type of diabetes usually occurs in people over 30 (but it may occur in overweight teen-agers and children with a family history of diabetes).

Diabetes often runs in the family and can be triggered by aspects of lifestyle:

  • People who carry excess weight around the waist and have lower levels of activity are more likely to develop diabetes. They are also more likely to have raised cholesterol, high blood pressure, and heart disease.

What happens in the body with type 2 diabetes?

  • Initially Insulin is still produced by the pancreas, but it is less effective in moving glucose into the body's cells than normal, this is called insulin resistance.
  • As a result, excess glucose remains in the blood stream resulting in higher than normal blood glucose levels.
  • After several years of diabetes, the pancreas may become ‘exhausted' and produce less insulin.

(Sources: International Diabetes Federation; the Australian Bureau of Statistics, Diabetes in Australia: A Snapshot, 2004-05; Internat-ional Diabetes Institute,

{/slide} {slide=Type 2 Diabetes}


The Damage:
If left untreated over time, high blood sugar levels lead to the complications of diabetes. Damage to:
· the vascular system (heart attacks, strokes),
· blood circulation (leg ulcers, frequent infections and gangrene)
· the eyes (blindness),
· the nerves (loss of sensation in the feet, and impotence),
· the kidneys (kidney failure).

These complications may be there even before you know you have diabetes, so it is important to have your doctor check you for diabetes every year.

The Symptoms:
Many people with type 2 diabetes may not be aware they have it, as there may be no symptoms initially. The symptoms may not appear until blood sugar levels are very high (over 15).

The symptoms to look for include:
· Excessive thirst
· Abnormal frequent urination
· Extreme tiredness or lack of energy
· Blurred vision
· Persistent infections

Prevention: This is all PREVENTABLE!
· An annual blood test, which measures your blood sugar level, is critical.
· regular exercise (walking a minimum of 20 minutes a day - twice as long to lose weight);
· changes in diet (healthy food and smaller portions - perhaps invest in an housekeeper);
· minimise stress levels.

See your Doctor, eat well and start exercising today!!

{/slide} {slide=Prostate Health Care}


§ There are two types of prostate disease: prostatic enlargement; and prostate cancer. Both can be the cause of urinary retention.

§ The prostatic enlargement may be due to a prostate infection (prostatitis), or a benign condition known as BPH (Benign Prostatic Hypertrophy).

§ Prostate cancer is a very slow growing cancer, but may be fatal. Prostate cancer usually occurs in older men. More than 65% of all prostate cancers are diagnosed in men over age 65. If treated early, prostate cancer has a cure rate of over 90%.

§ Family history: Men with a father, brother or son with prostate cancer are twice as likely to develop the disease. Those with two or more relatives are nearly four times as likely to be diagnosed. The risk is even higher if the affected family members were diagnosed at a younger age (before the age 60).

§ Detection & Screening: Screening for prostate cancer is recommended for men over 50 that have a life expectancy of over 10 years. It can be performed quickly and easily in a doctor's office using two tests:

1. the PSA (prostate-specific antigen) blood test;
2. the DRE (digital rectal exam).

§ It is recommended that both these tests be offered to screen for cancer if you have a positive family history, or if you are experiencing poor urine stream, or frequent night time urination.

§ It is important to know that the blood test alone is not enough. Not all cancers will show a PSA increase. The rectal examination will reveal many cancers that have not displayed a high PSA result.

§ Because prostate cancer is very slow growing, it may take up to 10-15 years before any problems arise. It is likely that if you are elderly (over 75) you may never need treatment.
(Source: Prostate Cancer Foundation) {/slide}

{slide=Physical and emotional health of priests}


"It is important that we find satisfaction in our ministry, and that we be clear about the nature of the satisfaction which we expect.

"The physical and emotional health of priests is an important factor in their overall human and priestly well-being and it is necessary to provide for these.

"I commend your bishops and you yourselves for giving particular attention to these matters in recent years.

"Yet, the fulfilment that comes from our ministry does not, in the final analysis, consist in physical or psychological well-being; nor can it ever consist in material comfort and security.

Our fulfilment depends on our relationship with Christ and on the service that we offer to his body, the Church.

Each of us is most truly himself when he is "for others".

- John Paul II
Address to the priests of the USA

"Life and physical health are precious gifts entrusted to us by God. We must take resonable care of them, taking into account the needs of others and the common good."
Catechism of the Catholic Church, No 2288

  • Created: 01 April 2007
  • Modified: 29 April 2009