Doctors advise elderly patients about blood sugar levels and diabetes in HCM City. (Source: VNA)

HCM City (VNS/VNA) – Vietnam has instituted many screening programmes for diabetes and pre-diabetes as part of efforts to reduce the rate of undiagnosed diabetics and protect people from cardiometabolic disorders which are intrinsically linked with diabetes and a major cause of morbidity and mortality world-wide, according to experts.

Prof Ernesto Maddaloni of University Campus Bio-Medico in Italy cited an estimation by the International Diabetes Federation that in Vietnam, 53.4 percent of diabetes patients were undiagnosed as of last year.

Globally, one in two adults with diabetes is undiagnosed, according to the professor. 

“Diabetes is a silent disease without any symptoms in the early stages,” he told Vietnam News on the sidelines of an international conference on “Cardiometabolic disorders in clinical practices”. It is a devastating disease whose complications make it one of the major causes of morbidity and mortality, he said.

“People with diabetes are two to three times more likely to have cardiovascular diseases.”

It’s also the leading cause of end-stage renal disease, blindness and non-traumatic lower-limb amputation, and negatively affects pregnancy outcomes and the nervous system.

A questionnaire for screening diabetes should be used by general practitioners like in his country, he said.

When they detect people with signs of diabetes or pre-diabetes, they recommend tests to confirm it.

Prof Kun-Ho Yoon from the department of endocrinology & metabolism at Seoul St.Mary’s Hospital in the Republic of Korea said "Vietnam should have a screening tool to improve the effectiveness of diabetes diagnosis."

According to Assoc Prof Nguyen Thy Khue of the department of endocrinology at the HCM City University of Medicine and Pharmacy the Ministry of Health and diabetes and endocrinology associations are carrying out screening programmes.

They have instructed hospitals around the country to do blood tests of all patients aged more than 40 to detect pre-diabetes and diabetes.

The Ministry of Health has recommended that people aged more than 45 with any risk element such as obesity or hypertension or relatives with diabetes should test their blood sugar even if they do not have any symptom of diabetes.

In the national multi-sectoral strategy for non-communicable diseases for 2015-25, many communications programmes to improve people’s awareness of diabetes have been done on the media including TV.

Moreover, annual health examinations provided for staff by companies include tests for blood sugar.

People with pre-diabetes should be monitored properly to avoid the onset of diabetes, Khue said.  

They should change their lifestyle, reducing drinking and stopping smoking, exercising and eating a balance diet.

Depending on their health situation, doctors could also prescribe medicines for people with pre-diabetes.

"But the cost of these medicines is not covered by health insurance," she said.

Preventive measures could halt 50 percent of the progression towards diabetes, she said.

The conference was held last weekend by non-profit organisation Excellence in Medical Education.

It consisted of presentation and question and answer sessions, discussions on clinical cases and interactive demonstrations of clinical cases and teamwork to provide participants, all endocrinologists and cardiologists, with knowledge about obesity, the dangers of prediabetes, personalised diabetes treatment, and responsive treatment for patients with high blood pressure.

Like diabetes, thyroid disorders are among the most common endocrine diseases and also impact cardiovascular homeostasis.

Unfortunately, a great number of patients with thyroid diseases are undiagnosed, exacerbating morbidity and reducing the quality of life, according to health experts at a conference held in HCM City.

Thus, there is a need for clear recommendations allowing effective and prompt recognition of the most frequent thyroid disorders to adequately treat patients and avoid adverse clinical outcomes.-VNS/VNA