In the quaint province of Songkhla, tucked away in captivating Thailand, an under-the-radar health crisis is slowly unfolding — a surge in diabetes cases. Unseen to many, but prominent enough to raise alarm, the Health Control Office (HCO), positioned at the forefront of this battle, marked a substantial upward trend in local diabetic patients over the years.
In the specific health area 12 alone, the numbers have leapfrogged from a minute 4,980 in 2021 to 5,148 the following year, culminating in a noteworthy 5,396 cases in the current year. On a larger scale, Phatthalung, Trang and Songkhla, renowned for their rich cultural heritage, found themselves leading the pack with 7,555, 6,820, and 6,219 patients in that order.
Thailand’s very own Health Data Center (HDC) corroborates this rising concern, shedding light on a nationwide trend. From 7,010 cases per 100,000 population in 2021, the numbers have ascended to 7,336 the next year, cresting at an alarming 7,692 in the current year.
The annual World Diabetes Day on the 14th of November offers a moment of reflection. It underscores the invisible danger of diabetes, urging the populace to adopt healthier habits for diabetes prevention and lessening the risk of complications.
Dr Chalermpol Osothphromma, the esteemed director of HCO 12, painted a vivid picture of diabetes. He described diabetes as a chronic adversary that slowly creeps into our lives due to either insufficient insulin production or inefficient sugar usage. Its stealthy effect leads to a gradual elevation of blood sugar levels that, over time, can wreak havoc by impairing organ function. This, in turn, can result in complications like degraded visual capacity, sluggish wound healing, decreased sensation in extremities and a host of other heart and kidney diseases.
He emphasised though that such a daunting foes could very well be vanquished with few lifestyle tweaks such as healthy eating, regular exercise, annual health check-ups for people aged 35 and above, and maintaining an appropriate body weight. He further urged those experiencing symptoms like frequent thirst, weight loss, dry throat, skin itching, and blurry vision to promptly avail professional help for correct diagnosis and treatment.
Adding an international perspective, a peculiar tale made headlines in Jiangxi province, China. A 14-year-old boy had developed an alarming water-drinking habit, gulping down up to 30 litres a day. Without this immense intake, he would become irritable. The medical professionals eventually discovered that he was suffering from diabetes insipidus–an uncommonly known disease causing extreme thirst, providing a stark reminder of the many faces of diabetes.