• From left, Dr Wannee Nitiyanun and Punya Kitchareonkarnkul

Reducing the social and economic costs of diabetes

event March 01, 2018 15:00

By The Nation

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The Diabetes Association of Thailand under the patronage of HRH Princess Maha Chakri Sirindhorn recently joined with Merck Thailand to mark World Diabetes Day with an event titled “Healthy Women, Healthy Families, Healthy Living”.

Activities included a four-kilometre run-walk, a seminar that explained the disease and its prevention, especially in women and free health check-up and screening for diabetes risk factors.

All proceeds after deducting expenses were donated to help support children with Type 1 diabetes in the care of Diabetes Association of Thailand. 

Statistics show that more than 199 million women are now suffering from diabetes and so the importance of personal health care and diet is becoming increasingly important. 

“The current rate of women with diabetes is getting higher, especially in those who are overweight or obese,” said Dr Wannee Nitiyanun, president of the Diabetes Association of Thailand.

“Women are at greater risk for diabetes than men because of their physique, eating habits and lack of exercise. The risk of diabetes increases during pregnancy if the mother doesn’t take good care of herself. In some cases, the risk continues even after childbirth, while there is a chance of diabetes returning within 5 to 10 years. The first 24 weeks of pregnancy put women at higher risk due to the development of placenta, which involves an increase in hormone production causing insulin resistance. Other risk factors include genetics, being overweight and history of abnormal pregnancy or miscarriage. It is important to have regular check-ups for gestational diabetes and always follow the doctor’s instructions. Moreover, women are also more likely to develop ovarian cysts, which also can cause insulin resistance. These are the factors that make women more vulnerable to diabetes than men.”

A survey of Thai people’s health revealed that between 2009 and 2014, the number of diabetics rose by an average of 200,000 each year. It also showed that the new generation has a higher risk of becoming diabetic due to poor lifestyle choices.

The occasion of World Diabetes Day was therefore used to emphasise the importance of women’s role in the prevention of diabetes for themselves and their families as the person who oversees the wellbeing and diet of the whole family. They also play an important role in reducing the cost and burden on government in taking care of diabetic patients. 

“We hope this event will help raise awareness and prevention of the disease. The campaign is aiming to help people, especially women and their families to take care of their health while also benefiting diabetic patients, especially children with this disease,” said Punya Kitchareonkarnkul, managing director of Merck Thailand.