Thai diabetes sufferers may rise to 4 million-plus in 8 years

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BANGKOK, Nov 14 – Thailand’s Public Health Ministry forecasts the number of Thai diabetes patients will nearly triple to more than 4 million in the next eight years, with about 52,800 patients dying of the disease on average annually.  

November 14 is World Diabetes Day. To mark the occasion, Deputy Public Health Minister Cholanan Srikaew said this year’s slogan campaign is ‘Diabetes: Protect Our Future’, focusing on giving knowledge and raising awareness of the disease among the youth and the public.

The Public Health Ministry last year found 1.5 million Thais with diabetes out of 22.2 million people age 35 and over. Among the 1.5 million patients, about 270,000, or 18 per cent, had complications such as kidney failure, and impaired eyesight from cataracts and glaucoma.

A growing number of Thai children are being diagnosed with diabetes, due to obesity, over-consumption of sugar and too little physical exercise– unless there is effective disease prevention.

The deputy minister warned that the International Diabetes Federation (IDF) predicted that patients with diabetes from age 20 to 79 worldwide will increase to 438 million in 2030, up from 285 million in 2010.

Four out of five patients will be Asian, and mainly found in Southeast Asia, while there will also be patients less than 14 years of age in future.