The Diabetes Tsunami

The number of British adults with diabetes has risen to more than 3.2 million – up by a million in just seven years. New figures show 163,000 people were diagnosed with the condition last year, the biggest total in a year since 2008. This brings the total to 3,208,014 adults with diabetes – or one in 17 of the population. In 2006, the figure was 2.2 million. Diabetes is exceedingly expensive. The NHS in UK spends £14 billion a year – 10 per cent of its budget – treating diabetes and its complications. The authorities in UK feel they are in the middle of an unfolding public health disaster that demands urgent action.

Singapore is similarly not spared from the diabetes tsunami. In year 2004, only 8.2% of Singaporeans age 18-69 was affected. In year 2010, this number has increased at an alarming rate to 11.3% of Singaporeans. This makes Singapore one of the developed countries with the highest incidence of diabetes. In Europe, it is generally around 6 to 9 percent, and worldwide it is 8.5 percent. There are many more out there who are probably unaware and are undiagnosed. The rise of diabetes in Singapore mirrors the rise in obesity from 6.9% in 2004 to 10.8% in 2010. Besides obesity, one of the other biggest risk factor of diabetes is aging. For many people out there, it is no longer a question of whether they will get diabetes, but rather when they will get diabetes.

Diabetes causes a host of health complications ranging from blindness to kidney failure, poor circulation leading to limb amputations, heart attacks and strokes. Besides living an active lifestyle, the other important advice would be to actively screen for the disease and treat the disease aggressively while it is still in the early stage, so as to reduce the risk of succumbing to these dreaded complications.

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One thought on “The Diabetes Tsunami

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