Disco royalty and diabetic, Marcia Hines, is encouraging all Australians to get tested for diabetes to bring awareness to the chronic condition that affects around 1.7 million Australians.

During October, Priceline Pharmacy stores around Australia are offering free consultations with trained advisors who can assess the risk of developing Type 2 diabetes, as well as discuss the management of Type 1 and 2 diabetes.

“Before I was diagnosed as a diabetic, I ate terribly, I skipped meals — mightn’t eat for a day or so — and I can’t really do that anymore,” says Hines, who hopes this campaign will help reduce diabetes-related issues through early detection.

“I’ve had diabetes for over 30 years and I think it’s important to use your profile for positive things,” says Hines. “There are so many people walking around who don’t even know they’ve got it.”

Although Type 1 diabetes is genetic and unpreventable, Type 2 can be developed over time, and is largely associated with lifestyle factors such as high blood pressure and obesity. According to Diabetes Australia, there are potential health risks for both Type 1 and Type 2; including heart attack, stroke, kidney disease, limb amputation, depression, anxiety, and blindness.

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The 'You' singer suffers from Type 1 diabetes

The 64-year-old pop sensation was diagnosed with Type 1 in her 30s and confesses that she’s a bit of a chronic blood sugar tester, but it’s an essential part of her routine when managing her diabetes.

“I test my sugars quite a bit during the day and before I go to sleep — sometimes even when I wake up at night and I’m not feeling well,” she says. “I can only speak for myself, but I know that I’m not feeling well if my sugars are up, and it’s very difficult to function if [my] sugars are low.”

While carrying an insulin pump has become a standard part of Hines’ life, she says her condition is easily manageable.

“If diabetes is the worst thing that happens to me in my life, I’m okay with that. If that’s the sickness I get, I’m okay with it because it’s totally manageable,” she explains. “And with Type 2, if you listen to your GP — or in this case if you go into a Priceline Pharmacy and meet a trained diabetic advisor — then they can point you in the right direction.”

The former Australian Idol judge advocates the importance of eating well and exercising as part of a healthy lifestyle, and healthier self. Hines makes sure that she has regular meals throughout the day, even if they are light, and always tries to devote time to some form of physical activity — often taking long walks as part of her daily routine.

“At the end of the day, you can’t expect anyone to take care of you, you’ve got to take care of yourself. I’m not talking about running marathons, because I’ve never run one, but I’m talking about… if it’s a nice day, go for a walk, and then when you go home, put some music on and have a dance around the house!” She laughs.

Despite returning from a 10-month tour, Hines is adamant she won’t be taking a break just yet.

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Hines has just returned from touring the 70s discotheque show,

“I’m about to go on a cruise with KC and the Sunshine Band, Boney M, Paul Young, Go West, and a plethora of others on a cruise liner. Then I go on tour with the Village People, KC and the Sunshine Band, and Sister Sledge on a nine-day jaunt around Australia for A Day on the Green. And then I will have a holiday because I deserve one and I need one,” she says.

With so much on her plate, how does the beloved pop icon unwind? “I do very little,” she chuckles. “We’ve just come off a gruelling tour — and summer's come — and now I have to get my routine kind of back together… but I just keep moving and there’s a lot to be said about moving.”

Hines also enjoys spending time in the garden, even if it’s simply sitting back and enjoying the beauty of nature.

“Gardening is one of the best things in the world you can do because you’re watching things grow and I don’t think there’s anything quite like that.”

Hines stays motivated and full of life by surrounding herself with strong, like-minded people who foster a positive mindset and continually challenge her potential.

“Some people think that if you get to a certain age, you get older, I don’t know if I’ve gotten to that age yet. Perhaps I’m a hope junkie, I have no idea, but this is just the way I’ve lived my life since I can remember. I’ve been blessed to have really good people around me.”

“I think the older you get, life becomes even more of a gift,” she adds. “If you can, live it relatively healthy, have good people around you, and have lots of laughs!”

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