4 Scary Facts About Diabetes You Need to Know
Diabetes is a serious condition where your blood glucose level is too high. Many of you have heard about it, and may have the condition themselves. But do you know the facts about diabetes?
1. Chinese are at high risk of Type 2 diabetes
Almost half of all adults in China – close to 500 million people, far more than the number in America (about 84 million)– have pre-diabetes. More than 90% of people don’t know they are pre-diabetes. Not only does this pose a risk factor for developing Type 2 diabetes, but also for other conditions such as cardiovascular disease. What’s more, more than half (53%) of people with diabetes in China may be undiagnosed.
As of 2017, China was the country with the highest number of diabetics worldwide, with some estimated 114 million persons suffering from diabetes. Almost 10% of all adults in China currently live with diabetes. Without urgent action to reduce lifestyle risk factors like unhealthy diet and lack of physical activity, that number is expected to increase to 150 million by 2040 – with major health, social and economic consequences.
In 2013, a nationally representative cross-sectional survey was conducted in mainland China, which consisted of 170 287 participants. Among adults in China, the estimated overall prevalence of diabetes was 10.9%, and that for pre-diabetes was 35.7%. The estimated prevalence of pre-diabetes has drastically increased since 2008. Most of the pre-diabetes are senior, men, and overweight and obese individuals.
According to the latest national survey, the prevalence of diabetes and pre-diabetes in participants with a BMI <23 kg/m2 was 6.4% and 30.7%, respectively (5). The relatively high risk of diabetes at a lower BMI could be partially attributed to the tendency toward visceral adiposity in East Asians, including the Chinese. They have been found to have a higher insulin sensitivity with a much lower insulin response than Europeans and Africans, increases the risk of progressing to overt diabetes.
2. More young people have diabetes
Unhealthy diets and lack of physical activity are driving increasing rates of overweight and obesity in China – which are themselves risk factors for developing Type 2 diabetes. More than one-third of adults in China are overweight, while 7% of adults are obese.
Unhealthy lifestyles are also putting China’s children at risk of developing diabetes: more than 4 in 5 adolescents 11-17 years do not get enough physical activity, and rates of overweight and obesity in children are increasing rapidly: from less than 3% in 1985 to around 1 in 10 in girls and 1 in 5 boys in 2010.1
3. Diabetes has become leading cause of death
Among the many people with diabetes, 5.9% are young people aged 20-39. These people have a higher risk of developing chronic complications, which is the leading cause of diabetes mortality and morbidity.
Noncommunicable diseases (NCDs), including diabetes, are China’s number one health threat, contributing more than 80% of the country’s 10.3 million annual deaths, and nearly 70% of its total disease burden. Diabetes and complications from diabetes contribute to almost 1 million deaths in China each year. Alarmingly, nearly 40% of these deaths are premature (that is, in people below the age of 70).
4. Diabetes make you take more medications
When you are diagnosed as Type 2 diabetes, you don’t go home with one drug, you go home with nine drugs, to treat your heart, to treat your blood pressure, to treat your kidney, to treat your vascular system and to reduce your blood glucose. That’s how serious the disease can be.
Diabetes is costly for families as well. For Chinese families with diabetic patients, 24% of the household expenditure is used on treating the disease, as many innovative drugs are paid out of pocket.
Over to you
Hearing the above facts can be very scary; what does this mean for your future?
If you and your family have family history of diabetes, you must take immediate action to change your lifestyle and reverse the fate of becoming diabetes.
If you have any questions or you encounter difficulties when trying to implement this strategy, let me know by leaving a comment!