Diabetes: Indonesia’s Hidden Killer

A World Health Organisation (WHO) report released in 2016 found 7 percent of Indonesians suffer from diabetes, or just over 18 million people. The organisation also tracked related conditions, finding that 22.8 percent of Indonesians are considered ‘physically inactive’ while 24.4 percent of Indonesians are overweight and a further 5.7 percent are obese.

The staggering figures have prompted a string of public health campaigns from both government agencies, NGOs and private health providers.In its May 2016 report, international consultancy firm McKinsey noted the importance of tackling diabetes management head-on as Indonesia rapidly develops towards becoming a global top ten economy.

“Looking ahead to the next 10 to 15 years, one of Indonesia’s biggest challenges will be addressing noncommunicable diseases (NCDs). In 1990, NCDs represented 43 percent of the country’s disease burden, compared with 49 percent for communicable diseases such as tuberculosis. Today, NCDs’ share has grown to 69 percent, and the numbers are rising,” the report said.

The report points to a shift in lifestyle among the burgeoning middle class as to blame for the increase in noncommunicable diseases, including diabetes.“As elsewhere in the developing and developed world, a modern lifestyle corresponds to a higher calorie intake and sedentary behaviour: fewer people walk to work or school, and more people are spending increasing hours in front of televisions or computer screens,” it said.

The United Kingdom’s government health portal warns of the impact diabetes can have on a sufferers’ overall health.

“Diabetes affects our blood vessels and nerves and therefore can affect any part of the body. However, certain parts of our body are affected more than other parts. Diabetic complications will usually take a number of years of poorly controlled diabetes to develop,” the UK government says.

But steps can be taken to ensure sufferers can manage their disease and continue to live life to the fullest. “Complications are not a certainty and can be kept at bay and prevented by maintaining a strong level of control on your diabetes, your blood pressure and cholesterol,” the agency recommends.

 

Featured Image via Pixabay

 

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Erin Cook is an Australian expat in Indonesia.


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