Doctors of the National Hospital of Endocrinology take care of a patient suffering from complications with diabetes. Photo danviet.vn
HÀ NỘI Diabetes, a chronic disease, has begun to harm more and more young people, with the youngest patient admitted to a Hà Nội hospital at just nine years old, said Associate Professor Tạ Văn Bình, former director of the National Hospital of Endocrinology.
The young patient is severely overweight at 100kg and is dealing with other life-threatening chronic diseases.
About 30 years ago, it was rare to find a 40-year-old type 2 diabetes patient. But the average age of diabetes patients around the world is now 40 years old. Now, more young people are being diagnosed with diabetes, with the disease even affecting patients aged between 15 and 20, Bình, who is also former head of the National Institute of Diabetes and Metabolic Disorders, told Nông Thôn Ngày Nay (Countryside Today) newspaper.
The National Hospital of Endocrinology usually admits young patients aged between 20 and 25. Type 2 diabetes is becoming more common with the youth including children aged around nine or 10.
According to Associate Professor Trần Ngọc Lương, director of the National Hospital of Endocrinology, type 2 diabetes is affecting more young people due to a lack of exercise, unhealthy diets and stress, leading to obesity and metabolic disorders.
Patients often do not go to the hospital for care until their illness is in a later stage, raising the cost of treatment. A lot of patients face complications such as blindness, amputations and fatalities.
According to the Medical Examination and Treatment Department under the Ministry of Health, diabetes is among the three most fatal illnesses in Việt Nam, after heart disease and cancers.
In 2017 alone, about 29,000 patients died of complications with diabetes, an average of 80 deaths per day.
Associate Professor Bình said the number of diabetes patients in Việt Nam has increased at a high rate of 5.5 per cent each year, putting the country at the top ten nations in terms of expansion rate.
However, according to the Ministry of Health, only 29 per cent of diabetes patients are being treated at medical facilities.
“Diabetes needs to be diagnosed early and the patients must go to medical facilities to receive treatment,” Bình said. “However, due to the long and costly period of treatment, many patients buy medicine without prescriptions, following advice from relatives and doctors or using traditional herbal medicine, and as a consequence, they face life-threatening risks.”
Associate Professor Đào Xuân Cơ, head of the Intensive Care Unit of Hà Nội's Bạch Mai Hospital, said the unit recently admitted five diabetes patients suffering from severe complications caused by medicine containing phenformin.
Phenformin reduces blood pressure, causes life-threatening risks and has been banned worldwide since 1978.
All of the patients were diagnosed with diabetes many years ago but refused to take Western medicine and followed the advice of relatives to take a type of medicine which containing the risky ingredient.
They were rushed to hospital only after developing symptoms like vomiting, stomachaches and multiple tissue failures.
In spite of doctors’ best efforts, only one of the patients could be saved.
Many traditional medicine doctors mix phenformin with eastern medicines to treat diabetes, said Dr Nguyễn Quang Bảy, head of the Diabetes Endocrinology Department of Bạch Mai Hospital.
Dr Bảy said diabetes is a chronic disease but we can control and minimise its complications by following treatment therapies, having healthy diets and exercising as advised by doctors. VNS