The number of diabetes patients in Turkey has more than doubled in the past 19 years, health experts warned on World Diabetes Day.
Turkey’s Endocrinology and Metabolism Association President Füsun Saygılı on Wednesday said currently almost 15% of all Turkish citizens are diabetic, compared to just 7% in 2000.
He called diabetes one of the most serious health risks. "Women are at a higher risk, as the diagnosis rates for women are at 17%, compared to 13% for men.
According to Saygılı, the main risk factors for type 2 diabetes include excess weight, high blood pressure, physical inactivity, low consumption of fruits and produce, as well as being aged above 45 and having a first-degree relative diagnosed with diabetes.
Warning about the direct correlation between type 2 diabetes and excess weight caused by a sedentary lifestyle and bad eating habits, Saygılı urged everyone to adopt a healthier lifestyle and limit their simple carb, sugar and fat intakes.
Type 2 diabetes is a preventable disease. With a more active lifestyle, a healthy diet and low sugar consumption the risk of type 2 diabetes can be reduced,” she said.
Turkey spends more than TL 25 billion annually on the treatment of diabetes patients, according to professor Alper Sönmez, a doctor of endocrinology and metabolism diseases.
Sönmez said one out of seven adults in Turkey is a diabetes patient and the amount spent on the treatment of diabetes patients amounted to a quarter of Turkey’s total health expenditure.
Sönmez also urged a healthy diet and physical activity both for prevention and management for the disease, adding that 90% of type 2 diabetes patients in the country were overweight.
According to a 2017 International Diabetes Federation report, Turkey was among the countries that saw the highest increase in diabetes patients. The report projected Turkey would rank the 10th country with the most diabetes patients by 2045.
The report said there were 425 million diabetes patients across the globe and that the number would increase by 48% to 629 million, with the ages between 40 and 59 having the most. The report also said a total of $727 billion was spent on diabetes across the world in 2017.
According to the report, 4 million people die every year from diabetes, which is a chronic condition where the body either does not make enough insulin to break down the sugar in foods or uses insulin inefficiently. Diabetes can cause early death or serious complications like blindness, stroke, kidney disease or heart disease.