With 3.3 million people with diabetes, or about 3.7 percent of its population, Vietnam now ranks first in Southeast Asia in the rate of diabetics, according to an estimate of the International Diabetes Federation (IDF), a meeting was told on Sunday.
In addition, it is worrying that more young people have been added to the diabetic population.
The warnings were released at a conference held in the south-central city of Ninh Binh yesterday to mark World Diabetes Day (November 14) and review a project funded by the IDF on making lifestyle interventions to prevent type-2 diabetes, the Radio Voice of Vietnam reported.
Diabetes is the fourth-leading cause of mortality in the world, causing a loss of five to ten years of life expectancy, according to a report delivered at the meeting. which was organized by the National Institute of Diabetes and Metabolic Disorders.
The disease is also among the top causes of blindness, kidney failure and limb amputations.
Globally, diabetes claims a life every six seconds, and every twenty seconds diabetic suffers a limb amputation as a serious complication from the disease.
Among every five diabetics in the world, four are from developing countries.
In Vietnam the number of diabetics is increasing rapidly, not only in cities or industrial parks, but also in mountainous areas and midlands.
Worryingly, more young Vietnamese people have become diabetics, said Associate Professor Dr. Ta Van Binh, rector of the Institute for Diabetes and Metabolic Disorder, under the Hanoi Medicine University.
There have been cases involving diabetics as young as 11 years old, while the average age for people suffering from this disease has previously been recorded at more than 45, Dr. Binh said.
“Overweight, obesity and metabolic disorders that are more common among young people are helping raise the number of people with type-2 diabetes, which is caused by lifestyle factors,” the scientist said.
According to a report issued at a conference in October last year, the number of diabetics in Vietnam has increased by 211 percent over the past 10 years.
In Ho Chi Minh City, the rate of diabetics is 6.5 percent, while the rate of glucose tolerance disorder is 12.8 percent, the highest in the country.
From 2011, the IDF-funded project in Ninh Binh has benefited about 70,000 local people, of whom 7,200 are at high risk of diabetes, and 751 have been confirmed as diabetics.
“Enhancing awareness of diabetes among the public and encouraging them to make positive changes in lifestyle, diets, and daily activities will contribute to reducing the risk of diabetes by 53 percent, according to the results gained from the project,” Dr. Binh said.
The project’s outcome will form a basis for the IDF to apply interventions to prevent the disease in many provinces and cities in Vietnam, as well as in other developing countries.
Three types of diabetes
In type-1 diabetics, the body does not produce insulin, a condition referred to as insulin-dependent diabetes.
In type 2 diabetics, the body does not produce enough insulin for proper functions, or the cells in the body do not react to insulin. Approximately 90 percent of all cases of diabetes worldwide are of this type.
Meanwhile, gestational diabetes affects females during pregnancy.
All types of diabetes are treatable. Patients with type 1 are treated with regular insulin injections, as well as a special diet and exercise.
Patients with Type 2 diabetes are usually treated with tablets, exercise and a special diet, but sometimes insulin injections are also required.
If diabetes is not adequately controlled the patient has a significantly higher risk of developing eye, foot and skin complications, heart problems, hypertension, mental disorders, hearing loss, a longer healing time for cuts or lesions, and others.