Diabetes has been rising at an alarming rate in Vietnam because of obesity and lack of excise, health experts said on November 4 at a press conference to mark World Diabetes Prevention Day (November 14).

A survey by the National Endocrinology Hospital showed that the number of diabetes patients doubled in the past 10 years.

More than five percent of Vietnamese had the ailment in 2012 compared to nearly three percent in 2002.

Hospital Deputy Director Phan Huong Duong said Vietnam now has about five million diabetes patients, of whom 60 percent have not been officially detected.

"Out of every 10 diabetes cases in Vietnam, six are diagnosed with complications," Duong said.

"Diabetes can be identified and treated if discovered at an early stage," he added.

Deputy Health Minister Nguyen Thi Xuyen said that complications such as stroke and eye, kidney and heart diseases can also be prevented.

"Diabetes and its complications can be prevented through dieting and a healthy lifestyle," said Xuyen.

According to Xuyen, Vietnam faces difficulties in preventing non-transmitted diseases, including diabetes, due to a lack of an overall national strategy.

This was blamed on a lack of human resources at grass-roots and district levels and a lack of collaboration between ministries and sectors.

"Practising exercise or walking 30 minutes daily can reduce diabetes risks by 40 percent," Xuyen said.

Other experts said strengthening community awareness on disease prevention could help. Priority should be also given to early detection and treatment system.

To mark World Diabetes Day, a communication campaign will be promoted nation-wide to encourage healthy lifestyles and diets.

Endocrinology hospitals will also provide free check-ups to people at risks of diabetes.-VNA