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Diabetes On The Increase Hospital Chief Warns

Source: Vientiane Times

The number of patients seeking treatment at Setthathirath Hospital is on the rise, especially among people who are poorly informed about how to prevent diabetes, which often has no symptoms until it has progressed to an advanced stage.

This was the message from the hospital’s Director General, Dr Vangnakhone Dittaphong, last week, when addressing an event to mark World Diabetes Day, which is observed annually on November 14.

The event was also attended by Deputy Minister of Health Dr Phayvanh Keopaseuth and other senior ministry officials.

Hospital staff provided free blood glucose tests to participants, explaining that a high level of glucose in the blood can indicate the possibility of diabetes.

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To prevent the onset of the disease, people should avoid a high-cholesterol and high-carbohydrate diet and stick to unprocessed foods, Dr Vangnakhone advised.

“People with diabetes need to make dietary changes to ensure their daily food intake does not raise their blood glucose levels,” he said.

People living with the disease are encouraged to eat fruit, vegetables and low-fat meat, as well as to do regular exercise if they wish to prevent the exacerbation of diabetes-related symptoms and conditions.

Overweight people and those over 35 years of age are at higher risk of diabetes. Experts suggest that to catch the disease in its early stages, people should have their blood glucose level checked every three years.

Head of the Endocrinology Department at Setthathirath Hospital, Dr Chanthone Xaysanavong, said the hospital hoped to improve people’s understanding of how to prevent this debilitating disease.

The increasing number of diabetics in Laos is proof that publicity campaigns are not being effective, he said. Diabetes is not just a health issue, but substantial economic losses are incurred when people of productive age are diagnosed with the illness.

The disease impacts their families, the health system and the economy through medical costs and loss of work, he added.

World Diabetes Day is an opportunity to raise awareness about the impact of diabetes on people’s health and to highlight ways to strengthen the prevention, diagnosis and treatment of diabetes.

This year, the theme is “Education to Protect Tomorrow”, with a focus on educating more people about diabetes, including health workers, people living with diabetes, their caregivers, and the general public.

The occasion is also an opportunity to address critical issues such as the relationship between diabetes and Covid-19, diabetes in indigenous populations, and access to insulin 100 years after its discovery.