New Delhi (Mizzima) – The prevalence of diabetes in lower Burma is about 9 per cent, according to a joint survey conducted by Burmese and UN health organizations.
The Burmese Health Department and the World Health Organization (WHO) jointly conducted a health survey in Rangoon and suburban Hlegu Township involving interviews with 5,000 respondents. The survey designated Rangoon as an urban area and Hlegu as a rural area.
The findings showed 11.1 per cent of people in the urban area and 7.3 per cent of people in the rural area had diabetes.
‘We take this survey data as the most reliable data to date. We don’t have a more credible survey’, Dr. Ko Ko, who took part in the survey, told Mizzima.
The survey results were included in a book compiled by the Mandalay Institute of Medicine by former professor of medicine Dr. Myint Myint Khin and published last month.
Myint Myint Khin, 87, who herself suffers from diabetes, is an executive committee member of the Myanmar Medical Association (MMA) and chairwoman of a group called Aid to Aged Doctors.
Regarding the higher prevalence rate of diabetes in urban areas, Dr. Raza Min Htoo, the coordinator of the Myanmar Medical Association, said, ‘Most of the food available in urban areas is non-organic. People have to consume fast food and adulterated cooking oil. And they have less physical exercise than their rural counterparts. They have more stress than rural people. So people living in urban areas have a higher chance to get diabetes’.
In annual checkups of medical doctors over 70, 72 out of a total of 532, or about 13.5 per cent, were found to suffer from diabetes in 2010, according to MMA findings.
About 3.2 million people die annually of diabetes in the world and the prevalence rate in developing countries is increasing, according to WHO data.
Dr. Tin Swe Latt, in his book ‘About Diabetes and Blood Sugar Diseases’, wrote: ‘The reason for a high prevalence rate of diabetes in developing countries is urbanization and industrial zones’. In hereditary diabetes, the factors include obesity, less physical exercise and over consumption of sweet foods.
Because it is expensive to treat the disease, it has been called ‘the disease of rich men’. The disease can cause vision impairment and affect various parts of the body. It can be controlled but not cured.