Taiwan's diabetes death rate rising at an alarming rate

DISTURBING: The mortality rate for diabetes increased 13.8 percent last year, one of the fastest rates of increases among the nation's top 10 killers

CNA , TAIPEI

Sun, Aug 06, 2006 - Page 2

More than 10,000 people died from diabetes last year, averaging 1.2 deaths every hour, the Taiwanese Association of Diabetes Educators (TADE) said yesterday.

TADE president Hsu Huei-huan (許惠恆), making the remarks at a seminar marking the 10th anniversary of the association's founding, said that the mortality rate from diabetes was rising rapidly, making it, along with suicide, two of the nation's top 10 causes of death that have registered rapid increases.

Hsu said that the mortality rate from diabetes increased by 13.8 percent last year compared with 2004, a rate of increase that surpassed those of malignant tumors, stroke and cardiovascular disease, which were the top three causes of death last year.

He cited statistics compiled by the Department of Health as saying that 10,501 people died from diabetes in Taiwan last year, averaging 28.7 deaths every day.

Up to 800,000 diabetes patients need medical treatment, with medical expenses surpassing NT$30 billion (US$91.46 million), accounting for more than 10 percent of health insurance reimbursement payments.

Although the prevalence of diabetes is still the greatest among those over 40, accounting for between 11 percent and 13 percent, Hsu said there were also many cases of younger people suffering from the disease.

Around three-quarters of diabetics have difficulty controlling their disease, mainly because they do not follow a diet regimen.

He advised diet control, regular exercise and medication as the best ways to control the disease.