In 2021 Thailand saw a significant doubling of cases to 300,000, thereby tipping the scales to a staggering total of 3.3 million diabetes patients. This striking increase was revealed by none other than Dr Direk Khampaen, the esteemed deputy director-general of DDC.
Such alarming statistics necessitate initiatives like World Diabetes Day, which is commemorated on November 14th. Instituted by the International Diabetes Federation (IDF), this year’s theme serves as a resounding caution — “Diabetes: Know your risk, know your response”.
The global landscape for diabetes is equally troublesome. Referencing the authoritative IDF Diabetes Atlas, more than 537 million people are grappling with this debilitating disease worldwide. Shockingly, about half of them are unaware of their condition. To add to this, an overwhelming 90% constitute Type 2 diabetes patients.
Projections for the future are grim; the number of diabetes patients is feared to surge to 643 million by 2030 and even more doomily, to a mind-boggling 783 million by 2045.
So, who are more likely to fall into the clutches of this disease? Dr Direk warns that those with a family history are at jeopardy, as are the overweight with significant belly fat. Also significantly at risk are those dealing with hypertension, the ones with an insatiable sweet tooth, our weekend warriors with insufficient physical activity, the smokers, and the alcohol enthusiasts.
Averting this malady hinges upon lifestyle alterations. This includes a higher intake of plant-based foods and reducing the consumption of sweets, fatty and salty foods. The importance of regular physical exercise, maintaining mental well-being, getting restful sleep, quitting smoking and monitoring alcohol use cannot be overstated.
The situation in Thailand could be described as critical, says Dr Direk with concern. This year’s findings indicate that there are at least 5 million unscreened individuals out of the 22 million people aged 35 and up. He emphasizes on the indispensability of annual screenings for this age group to maintain blood sugar levels below 100 milligrams per decilitre.
Hormone dysfunction-induced diabetes can wreak havoc in the human body, initiating damage to organs and causing complications with the eyes, kidneys, heart and brain blood vessels, warns Dr Direk. Prevention strategies include adherence to prescribed medications, regular medical check-ups and, crucially, managing one’s diet.
Among the telltale signs of diabetes are foot abnormalities and slow-healing wounds. Individuals experiencing these symptoms are strongly advised to consult a medical professional immediately.
For additional information, individuals can reach out to the DDC hotline at 1422, serving as a reliable source of credible information on diabetes.