The Public Health Ministry has expressed concerns over the rising number of diabetes patients in Thailand which is set to triple to more than 4 million in the next eight years.

Public Health Minister Pradit Sinthawanarong said the latest survey conducted on Thais aged over 15 shows that the number of diabetes patients across the country is at about 3.5 million. The disease kills an average of nearly 8,000 people every year.

A growing number of young children are being diagnosed with diabetes, due to obesity, over-consumption of sugar and lack of physical activity.

Dr Pradit is concerned that one-third of sufferers in the country are not aware of their condition and have failed to seek treatment. The cost of medical treatment for diabetes has jumped to over 47 billion baht per year.

The International Diabetes Federation has predicted that patients with diabetes worldwide will increase to 552 million in 2030, up from 285 million in 2010.

The ministry is rolling out diabetes screening programs in hospitals across the country in 2014 in a bid to control and reduce the number of patients.

News from NNT