Thousands of Mandurah residents may be unaware they are living with type 2 diabetes, according to data from the National Diabetes Services Scheme.
Statistics indicate the disease is prevalent in the Peel region with more than 2500 people diagnosed with type 2 diabetes in Mandurah, or 6 per cent of the overall population of the area.
The national average is 4.1 per cent, while the state average is 3.8 per cent.
Additionally, an estimated 2500 locals may also be at risk of developing the condition or may be living with it without knowing.
Diabetes Western Australia health services and evaluation general manager Deb Schofield said the older age of many local residents contributed to the increased rate in the region.
"The higher rate of people living with type 2 diabetes in Mandurah is due to the demographics of the residents," she said.
"We know that Mandurah is a popular retirement destination for many West Australians and being over 40 years of age increases a person's risk of developing type 2 diabetes."
Ms Schofield added that for every person living with type 2 diabetes, there was another person living with the condition without being diagnosed.
"People may not have any of the symptoms of type 2 diabetes, they may not recognise the symptoms of type 2 diabetes and/or may not be having regular health checks," she said.
"Early diagnosis of type 2 diabetes is very important because 60 per cent of people who are diagnosed early can walk away from type 2 diabetes by changing their diet and exercise routine.
"Early diagnosis, and well-managed diabetes, will prevent further health complications of type 2 diabetes. Unfortunately, type 2 diabetes is the leading cause of blindness, kidney damage, amputation, heart attack and stroke."
Ahead of National Diabetes Week during July 14-20, Diabetes WA is encouraging locals to learn more about the condition and its symptoms.
A free information session will be held at the Leslie Street Centre on Monday, July 15 for people with type 2 diabetes, carers and those at risk of developing diabetes.
The aim of the session is to help people better understand diabetes and the importance of self management, and to make small changes to live a healthier life with their family.
Diabetes WA operations manager Sophie McGough said the Connect with Diabetes event would not only help people engage with their diabetes but connect with quality local services that can help with all aspects of diabetes.
"Type 2 diabetes can be easy to ignore if you're busy and there are few symptoms, but day to day management is very important to long-term health," she said.
"The Connect with Diabetes session aims to bring diabetes back to the front of mind.
"Even if only 5 per cent of those people came to the session and learned something that helped them, they could reduce the impact that type 2 diabetes could have on their quality of life, enabling them to spend more time with loved ones in the future."
Ms Schofield added the event provided a chance for people to ask certified diabetes educators any questions about diabetes.
"It is a great opportunity for people who want to know more about their condition and how to prevent developing it," she said.
"For people already living with type 2 diabetes, this event is the perfect opportunity to find out how Diabetes WA can support them to get back on track with their diabetes management and live full and healthy lives.
"These events are a great way for people to set positive goals for their type 2 diabetes management with encouragement from like minded people in similar situations to themselves."
Event attendees will receive a pack of resources, including a healthy eating guide, to take home and a complimentary afternoon tea.
For more information, or to book a place at the Connect with Diabetes Mandurah event, contact Diabetes WA on 1300 001 880 or visit the website.