Around 5.76 million people (three quarters of people aged between 30 and 70) living in Vietnam have diabetes – as reported in a study by N Bich Ngoc et al published in the Annals of Global Health (AGH).
Economic growth and changes in food consumption, combined with changes in social environments, have influenced the patterns of diabetes. Diabetes is a leading cause of death on a global scale, reducing life expectancy by approximately 30%. It is predicted to be one of the top seven diseases causing death and disability in Vietnam by 2030. Why have numbers risen exponentially in recent years, and what steps can the government take to reduce them?
Metabolic Or Biological Causes
Metabolic or biological risk factors for diabetes include being overweight or obese. Between the years 2010 and 2014, Vietnam recorded the highest growth in obesity in Southeast Asia (a 38% increase, to be exact). A 2019 study also showed that around 86% of children in Vietnam’s urban areas are overweight or obese. Fitch analysts believe that Vietnam may have to dedicate around 2.5 percent of overall healthcare expenditure to conditions resulting from high obesity levels. Other risk factors in this category include hypertension, dyslipidemia (having an abnormal amount of lipids in the blood), and hyperglycemia (having high levels of glucose in the blood).
Poor Lifestyle Choices
Unhealthy lifestyle choices such as smoking, consuming an unhealthy diet that is high in refined carbohydrates, and leading a sedentary lifestyle can also contribute to the development of Type 2 diabetes, as can stress. Physical activity is key to staving off a host of chronic diseases, and those who have diabetes are often reminded to stay active to prevent the development of diabetic foot. This occurs when feet develop ulcers, blisters, wounds and other skin irritations. In severe cases, it can lead to amputation. Exercising regularly can help people stay at a healthy weight, keep stress levels down, and keep pre-diabetics and diabetics from facing serious consequences and/or complications.
Recommendations To Battle Diabetes
In the AGH study above, the researchers recommended that the Vietnamese government adopt social security and policy measures aimed at reducing the risk factors for diabetes. Establishing new protocols for managing and controlling the disease is also key, as are early diagnosis and treatment. They also recommended that the health department provide ethnic minorities in rural areas with better access to healthcare. They added that continuing care also needed to be provided to seniors living in mountain areas. Efforts should also be made, they stated, to educate families on the role they can play in choosing a healthy lifestyle. By lowering obesity rates and staying active, children and adults alike can keep diabetes at bay.
Economic growth and poor lifestyle choices have led to burgeoning rates of diabetes in Vietnam. Governments need to undertake sweeping reform in current healthcare systems, so that diagnosis and treatment are provided quickly and efficiently. Educational programs can also help people significantly reduce their risk of developing not only Type 2 diabetes, but additional diseases such as heart disease and many types of cancer.