Portugal diabetes rates highest in EU

Fri, 23 Nov 2012
Portugal has a higher rate of diabetes than any other country in the EU, according to a new report by the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development.

The report shows that almost one tenth (9.8 per cent) of the Iberian nation's population were living with either type 1 or type 2 diabetes in 2011 nearly double the average rate across the European Union (6.4 per cent).

Behind Portugal in second place for diabetes prevalence in 2011 was Cyprus, followed by Poland, with both countries having rates of over 9 per cent.

On the opposite end of the chart, Sweden, Luxembourg and Belgium had the lowest rates of all EU member states - all below five per cent.

On a positive note for Portugal, the report found that the country is among those that have seen reductions in the number of adults who smoke, with smoker numbers falling 9.7 per cent between 2000 and 2010. In addition, alcohol consumption per head declined by 23 per cent over the decade.

Smoking is an independent risk factor for type 2 diabetes, and also raises the risk of related complications such as heart disease, while alcohol significantly increases the chances of hypoglycemia (low blood sugar) amongst diabetics.

According to the OECD, cases of diabetes mellitus are growing in line with the increased prevalence in obesity, which in some countries has doubled since 1990.
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