Fresh figures from the diabetes association, Diabetesforeningen, show that 320,000 Danes suffer from diabetes – a figure that is expected to double by 2025.
The Danes live an unhealthy lifestyle and about half of the population is overweight, which increases the risk of developing diabetes, the report said.
“It’s getting scary. The number of Danes with diabetes has doubled since 2001 and is approaching six percent of the population,” Henrik Nedergaard, the head of Diabetesforeningen, said in a press release. “And it won’t be the last doubling. In 2025 at least 600,000 Danes will have diabetes. That will call for mass treatment.”
Young Danes unhealthy
Some 80 percent of diabetes patients suffer from type 2 diabetes, which is hereditary and has the Danish nickname gammelmandssukkersyge (old man’s diabetes) because it used to be an illness associated with older people.
But the growing number of younger Danes leading an unhealthy life has led to the illness becoming much more frequent among the young generation.
“In Denmark today, we find the type 2 diabetes in young people in their 20s and 30s. And in the US there are teenagers who develop the illness,” Nedergaard told Berlingske newspaper.
Diabetes is incurable and prevents the body from producing insulin, which leads to high blood sugar levels. The illness can be treated, but patients must inject insulin on a daily basis and monitor their blood sugar levels. A healthy diet and regular exercise can also help keep blood sugar levels down.
New figures forthcoming
A string of experts have warned the government that diabetes is a ticking bomb under the state coffers, which already shells out 31.5 billion kroner a year, according to the most recent figures from 2006.
Diabetesforeningen told The Copenhagen Post that new figures would be ready in a couple of months and the amount spent by the state on diabetes will no doubt have increased from the 2006 figures.
Louise Krarup, the head of Diabetesforeningen’s regional committee in mid-Jutland, fears that the growing financial strain will have dire consequences for new diabetes patients.
”I fear that there won’t be room for everyone at the diabetes centres when both councils and regions are experiencing significant cutbacks,” Krarup told Århus Stiftstidende. “If you can’t be educated on how to take care of your illness, you can’t handle the illness on a daily basis, and that’s when the complications take hold.”