Diabetes on the Increase in Laos
The number of patients seeking treatment at Setthathirath Hospital is on the rise, especially among people who are poorly informed about how to stay clear of diabetes.
This year, more than 400 people are receiving treatment at the hospital’s diabetes centre, up from about 350 people last year.
Director General of Setthathirath Hospital, Associate Prof. Dr Khampe Phongsavath, spoke with Vientiane Times yesterday before an activity to mark World Diabetes Day, which is observed annually on November 14.
He said people living with the disease are encouraged to eat fruit, vegetables and low-fat meat, as well as to do regular exercise if they wish to prevent the exacerbation of diabetes-related symptoms and conditions.
During the activity, the hospital provided free blood glucose tests. A high level of glucose in the blood can indicate the possibility of diabetes, a disease which often has no symptoms until it has already progressed to an advanced stage.
“People with this disease need to make dietary changes to ensure their daily food intake does not raise their blood glucose levels,” Dr Khampe said. Stress is also one of several other factors increasing the risk of diabetes.
Overweight people and those over 35 years of age are at high risk of diabetes. Experts suggest that to catch the disease in its early stages, people should have their blood glucose level checked every three years.
To prevent the onset of the disease, people should avoid a high-cholesterol and high-carbohydrate diet and stick to unprocessed foods.
Head of the Endocrinology Ward at Setthathirath Hospital, Dr Boummy Somsamouth, said the hospital hoped to improve people’s understanding of how to prevent the debilitating disease.
But the increasing number of diabetics in the country each year is proof that the information campaigns aren’t reaching the right people.
“This year, more than 400 people are receiving treatment at the hospital’s diabetes centre, up from about 350 people last year.”
Diabetes is not just a health issue, he said. Substantial economic losses are incurred when people of productive age are diagnosed. The disease impacts their families, the health system and the economy through medical costs and loss of work.
According to the World Health Organisation, more than 347 million people worldwide suffer from diabetes. The disease accounted for 1.5 million deaths in 2012 alone.
Total deaths are projected to rise by more than 50 percent in the next 10 years, making diabetes the seventh leading cause of death in the world by the year 2030.
It is estimated that by 2030, about 366 million people worldwide will suffer from diabetes.