|A health worker performs diabetes screening for a resident in Huế City. — VNA/VNS Photo|
HÀ NỘI — The number of Vietnamese with diabetes reached almost five million in 2021, equivalent to 7.1 per cent of adults, according to the Ministry of Health.
Deputy Minister of Health Nguyễn Thị Liên Hương said that a survey in 2021 revealed that among those with diabetes, only 35 per cent have been diagnosed and 23 per cent are being treated at medical facilities.
Hương said it is forecast that the number of diabetes cases in Việt Nam as well as the whole world will continue to increase rapidly in the coming years.
Diabetes is one of the common causes of disability and premature death in most countries and is a leading cause of blindness, cardiovascular disease, kidney failure and ulcerative limb amputation.
The deputy minister also said that the survey results showed that more than 55 per cent of patients with diabetes now have complications, including 34 per cent being cardiovascular problems; 39.5 per cent have sight complications and neurological complications; and 24 per cent kidney complications.
Phạm Thùy Linh, deputy head of the Department of Clinical Nutrition and Dietetics, at the National Hospital of Endocrinology, said Vietnamese people's diets are now full of fast food, carbonated drinks, and sugar. A 330ml can of soft drink contains 36 to 78 grams of sugar, much more than the recommended rate for a person per day. This promotes insulin resistance, which increases the risk of diabetes, Linh said.
In addition to sugar, consuming too much unhealthy food can cause dyslipidemia, which also increases the risk of type 2 diabetes. For example, dyslipidemia causes acute pancreatitis, and pancreatitis destroys beta cells of the pancreas producing diabetes.
Trần Hữu Dàng, chairman of the Việt Nam Association of Diabetes and Endocrinology, said the treatment and control of diabetes still face many difficulties with a high rate of undiagnosed patients in the community.
He said diabetes is thus one of the burdens for society.
According to Phan Hướng Dương, deputy director of the National Hospital of Endocrinology, a nationwide survey reported that the rate of diabetes among people from 30 to 69 years old in 2002 was only 2.7 per cent; then it increased to 5.4 per cent in 2012. In 2020, the rate was 7.3 per cent.
He said just like the comment of the International Diabetes Federation, diabetes has become a kind of “pandemic” in developing countries due to urbanisation, people eating too much high-carb food and limited exercise.
Dương said now he had patients who are just 12 or 13 years old, which he had never experienced before. He added that the World Health Organization is focusing on preventing type 2 diabetes from adolescents, by stopping obesity.
According to a survey by the National Hospital of Endocrinology with a group of 11-14 years old in 2018, the overweight rate was 27.8 per cent, which is too high.
He said: "If we do nothing about that today, the future generation will have to face diabetes type 2."
To prevent diabetes, he recommends focusing on changing lifestyle to proper nutrition and increasing exercise. Bad habits, such as eating dinner late, eating a lot of junk food and letting children to play games and watch TV in a long time, also need to be changed.
World Diabetes Day is observed on November 14 every year to bring the attention of the people to health threats posed by diabetes and how to avoid that. — VNS