The number of people living with diabetes in Thailand, in the age group of 20-79 years, has risen from 3,162,400 in 2007 to 3,538,000 in 2010, according to the International Diabetes Federation (IDF).
During the past three years 375,600 more Thais have joined
the band wagon of this non communicable disease, increasing the national
incidence of diabetes from 7.2% in 2007 to 7.7% in 2010. This is more than the
current prevalence in India
(7.1%) and China
(4.5%) in the age group of 20-79 years. Thailand
urgently needs to increase efforts to raise awareness of diabetes among its
population in order to stem the potential of a burden epidemic.
"I don't want to call 'diabetes' as a disease actually
it is Hyperglycemia, or it is the level of the high blood sugar that becomes
the problem all over the world at this moment. So I think this is the big
problem. We already know how to prevent ourselves from diabetes especially
through better nutrition, exercise and so on. The problem is how about those
who are starting to have risk of Hyperglycemia, what should they do? One thing
that needs to be done is blood testing. Since diabetes now affects all ages, at
some point when a person reaches age 30 they certainly need to check their
blood and continue controlling the glucose level yearly" said Dr Samlee
Plianbangchang, Regional Director of World Health Organization South-East Asia
Region Office (WHO-SEARO) in an exclusive interview with CNS.
"Once you know someone is at risk then you have to
prevent the complication by keeping the sugar level of blood. In many cases we
may have to give them insulin, and try our best to prevent them from the other
diseases as much as we can. If we can control the blood sugar in the person
well enough and prevent them from the complication diseases, they would be just
fine with their life, just only in one condition, don't let there come the
complication," added Dr Samlee Plianbangchang.
He said that diabetes is a condition requiring lifelong
treatment, care and management which currently affects a lot of people around
"Diabetes is alarming; it's happening all around the world.
For developing countries, there is a need to access medication but people don't
even know that they have diabetes, and the access to treatment is limited. So
we have to make them aware of their condition and make it possible to access
medication. Primary prevention is a very important issue as well," said Dr
He added that Thailand
has had so many campaigns during the past few years such as 'Kon Thai Rai Pung'
but campaigning is just only a part of it. Success or failure is up to the
discipline of individual persons, he said.
"To exercise you need to have discipline, most people
don't have discipline. If you're not disciplined then the campaign will not be
successful. To make the campaign work out, we have to campaign for people to
have discipline. I think this is very big issue" said Dr Samlee
Dr Samlee Plianbangchang stressed the need for people to
take care of their health in the lead up to the World Diabetes Day, 14
November, and beyond.
"We have to take care of our health, the most important
thing that we have to be concerned with is food and nutrition. Along with good
exercise and enough rest, these will certainly help to prevent diabetes and
other diseases. It is simple saying it but hard in terms of doing, because
whoever has no discipline will not be able to work it out, to have discipline
in taking care of your health is a very big issue, anyone who has not enough
discipline they can never be able to do this" said Dr Samlee
The slogan of World Diabetes Day this year is 'Let's
take Control of Diabetes Now,' perhaps the best way for us to start with is to have self-discipline.
Contributed by: Bobby Ramakant