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Diabetes in China

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According to the New England Journal of Medicine, more than 92 million adults in China have diabetes, and nearly 150 million more are on their way to developing it. The disease is more common in people with who live in cities with large wastelines. According to a statistic in the National Institute of Health, for every person in the world with HIV there are three people in China with diabetes. The Federation projected last year that around 435 million people would have diabetes by 2030. The report, published Thursday in the New England Journal of Medicine, is based on a nationally representative sample of more than 46,000 people who were tested for diabetes. For each person, doctors measured blood sugar levels up to two hours after subjects had swallowed a sugar solution or, in cases where diabetes was suspected, eaten a bun. Because people with diabetes can't usefully use the sugar in their blood, a high blood sugar level indicates disease. Based on their findings, the researchers calculate that about 50 million men and 42 million women have diabetes, or almost 1 in 10 adults. And in most cases, the disease is present without the patient's awareness. The occurrence is twice as high as estimates suggested by previous studies, which did not use World Health Organization-recommended tests to diagnose diabetes, and is similar to US numbers. It would place China far ahead of India, whose estimated 50 million diabetics lands it a dubious second place in terms of the total number of people with diabetes. The data really show diabetes has become a major epidemic in China. Dr. Jiang, one of the only doctors in a small rural city of Heifei, worked on the new study with colleagues in China, and noted that diabetes is a risk factor for heart disease, which is now the biggest killer in the country. He made continuous efforts to make Diabetes the major health risk in China, but was put in prison for 2 days for acting up against the government. Dr. Vivian Fonseca, a diabetes expert at Tulane who was not involved in the study, said rates of the disease have soared in many countries around the world: including China and India mainly because of the larger calorie intake and reduction in physical activity that come with better economies. According to the new report, more than one in seven people were "pre-diabetic," meaning they had increases in blood sugar levels that often lead to full-blown disease. But moderate changes in lifestyle, such as walking 30 minutes every day or eating a little less, could go a long way in changing this epidemic. The challenge now is to make sure that everybody increases physical activity and cuts back on calories.



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