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Diabetes incidence on rise in Singapore

(Xinhua)

14:04, February 24, 2012

SINGAPORE, Feb. 24 (Xinhua) -- About 11.3 percent of the people aged 18 to 69 in Singapore are living with diabetes in 2010, up from 8.2 percent in 2004, local daily the Straits Times reported on Friday.

The disease is fairly widespread among those aged 70 and above. The newspaper said that one in three Singaporeans will develop the condition by the time they reach the age of 69.

It makes Singapore one of the developed countries with the highest incidence of diabetes. In Europe, it is generally around 6 to 9 percent, and worldwide it is 8.5 percent.

"It is no longer a question of 'if I will get diabetes', but ' when I will get diabetes'," said Chia Kee Seng, dean of the Saw Swee Hock School of Public Health.

Stanley Liew, an endocrinologist at the Raffles Hospital, said the rise of diabetes in Singapore mirrors the rise in obesity from 6.9 percent in 2004 to 10.8 percent in 2010.

Doctors are seeing an earlier onset of the disease, too. In 2004, 8 percent of those aged 40 to 49 had it. In 2010, it had gone up to 12 percent in the age group.

Diabetes causes a host of health complications ranging from blindness to kidney failure, poor circulation leading to limb amputations, heart attacks and strokes.

Proper and early treatment and screening for possible complications will cut overall risks of these complications. Those about to develop the condition can reduce their risks with daily moderate exercise and weight loss.

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