Diabetes, a global health menace, is charging ahead without pause, already ensnaring a whopping 537 million people in its grip, with no evident signs of slowing down. Thailand, much like the rest of the world, hasn’t been spared either, witnessing a staggering annual surge of 300,000 new cases. The International Diabetes Federation (IDF), in a noteworthy move, has highlighted the key precursors to this mounting global diabetic mayhem, spotlighting family medical histories, obesity, excess belly fat, and high blood pressure as prominent risk elements.
To commemorate tomorrow, the 14th of November, as World Diabetes Day, this year, IDF has chosen an enlightening theme – Diabetes: Know your Risk, Know your Response. This theme underscores the crucial role knowledge holds in understanding the potential dangers accompanying diabetes, and the perils of its complications. Moreover, it amplifies the importance of public accessibility to accurate information, in-depth knowledge, and timely hands-on treatment for everyone, particularly those at a greater risk.
Insights from the IDF Diabetes Atlas reveal a perturbing figure of 537 million diabetics globally, out of which a majority of over 90% are living with type 2 diabetes. Alarmingly, nearly half of these cases remain undetected. Looking ahead, the crystal ball of analytics projects these numbers to climb up to 643 million by the year 2030, and to a mind-boggling 783 million by 2045.
The warning signs for this global diabetic epidemic include a familial history of diabetes, obesity, elevated waist circumference, hypertension, a sweet tooth, inadequate physical activity, smoking, and alcohol indulgence. Thankfully, prevention is within grasp through behavioral adjustments. Include diverse dietary choices focusing more on fruits, vegetables and whole grains, and cutting down on sugary, fatty and salty delicacies. Incorporate regular physical activity, ensure sound mental health, obtain ample sleep (about 7-8 hours a night), and abstain from smoking and alcohol.
Seeing a rising trend of diabetes in Thailand, last year, the Embassy of Denmark in Thailand partnered with Novo Nordisk Pharma (Thailand) to probe innovative solutions in the healthcare realm to effectively stem this rapid escalation of diabetics. Their emphasis is to cater to the unsatisfied medical demands of diabetes patients and to bring path-breaking innovations to the forefront of healthcare.
As per the latest statistics from the Ministry of Public Health in Thailand, the prevalence of diabetes is on a consistent upward trajectory, with 300,000 new cases recorded this year alone. The cumulative estimate of diabetes patients for the next year is projected to reach 3.3 million, marking a rise of 150,000 compared to the current year. Of the 22 million people targeted for diabetic screening this year, 5 million individuals over 35 years, have yet to undergo the required screening.
Dr Direk Khampaen, the Deputy Director-General of the Department of Disease Control, strongly advises annual diabetic screenings for those above 35 years, emphasizing that blood glucose levels should ideally stay below 100 milligrams per deciliter. Early detection, followed by full-fledged treatment, reduces the threat of severe complications and potential mortality.
Dr Krissada Hanbunjerd, the Director of the Non-Communicable Disease Division, clarifies that diabetes is the result of irregular hormone functions leading to surges in blood sugar levels. Persistent, long-term high blood sugar levels wreak havoc on organs, triggering complications in the eyes, kidneys, heart vessels, and brain vessels. Type 2 diabetes, the most common form of the disease, is caused by insulin resistance. Often symptomless in the beginning, it’s typically discovered during health check-ups in individuals over 35 years who are overweight or obese.
Preventing complications in diabetic individuals is achievable, mainly by maintaining blood sugar levels, controlling diet, reducing intake of sugary, fatty, and salty foods, regular consultation with your physician, religious medication consumption, regular physical exercise, self-foot examinations, and avoiding smoking and alcohol.
For more in-depth knowledge, you may contact the Department of Disease Control hotline at 1422.