Tue, Oct 08, 2019 - Page 4 News List

More young people develop diabetes

USUAL SUSPECTS:A doctor said fast food and sugary drinks were partly to blame for the increase in diabetes, which is also caused by irregular habits and a sedentary lifestyle

By Lin Hui-chin and Jake Chung  /  Staff reporter, with staff writer

The average age of people with diabetes in Taiwan has been decreasing, with the number of patients under the age of 20 increasing 44.5 percent over the past seven years, the latest data released on Thursday last week by the Taiwanese Association of Diabetes Educators showed.

People under 20 used to be relatively safe from type-2 diabetes, but the number of young people diagnosed with the disease has been growing over the past few years, National Health Research Institute vice president Hsu Chih-cheng (許志成) said.

In 2008, 9.65 people out of 100,000 had type-2 diabetes, but the number has risen to 13.94 people per 100,000 in 2014, or an increase of 44.5 percent, Hsu said.

The incidence rate of diabetes in people aged 20 to 40 has also been increasing, Taipei Veterans General Hospital Department of Metabolism doctor Hu Chih-min (胡啟民) said.

Consuming foods high in sugar and fat, having irregular living habits and not exercising enough affect the body’s regulation and control of glycemia, or the amount of sugar in their blood, and increases the risk of diabetes, Hu said.

Hu cited the increasing consumption of fast food, sugary beverages and other dishes more commonly seen in the West as a cause for the increase in diabetes.

Advances in diabetic patient care has caused the crude mortality rate of type-2 diabetes to fall from 3.6 percent in 2000 to 3 percent in 2014, or by 16.8 percent, Hsu said.

However, diabetes still ranked fifth in the top 10 causes of death last year and remains a severe health issue, Hsu said, encouraging people to adopt a healthier lifestyle.

Diabetic people should make a habit of monitoring their blood sugar level before and after meals, Hu said.

There is an increasing variety of medication — orally ingested or injected — that help people with diabetes control their blood sugar levels, Hu said.

Diabetic people should explain their conditions to their doctors to forestall any serious complications, Hu said.

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