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5.3m Vietnamese Citizens Are Prediabetic, Expert Says

About 5.3 million Vietnamese, or 8.6% of the entire population, have prediabetes. 

In advance of World Diabetes Day on November 14, Chairman of the Vietnam Association of Diabetes and Endocrinology Trần Hữu Dàng provided the figures in a statement. He explained that prediabetes is a condition when one has blood sugar levels higher than normal, but not elevated enough to be Type 2 diabetes.

Those who develop diabetes often do so after being prediabetic, and the disease is one of the four leading non-communicable diseases leading to death in Vietnam and the world. Diabetes is rising in Vietnam, with rates going from 3.3% of the total population in 2014 to 5.4% in 2017. The disease results in significant healthcare costs for the national insurance system. It's estimated that by 2045, some 7.9 million Vietnamese will be prediabetic.

A 2020 report released by the Annals of Global Health explains that a rise in obesity and physical inactivity, along with traditional risk factors including smoking and improper nutrition, has lead to the increase. 

A lack of education in Vietnam regarding diabetes and prediabetes is one of the largest challenges to overcome. Recent research indicates that two-thirds of Vietnamese are not aware of the disease or the preventative measures needed to avoid it. Citizens here do not routinely take the glucose test that reveals the condition, and it is often discovered only when undergoing regular medical check-ups or during treatment for other conditions.

Chairman Dàng explained that screening and monitoring need to increase nationwide. Moreover, continued efforts to provide healthcare to poor, rural and ethnic minority communities are needed in the battle to combat diabetes.