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Asia-Pacific has the biggest diabetes burden in the world

Given that in the year 2000 an estimated 83 million people in the Asia-Pacific region were living with type 2 diabetes, representing almost half of the 171 million people with diabetes worldwide, these findings highlight the huge impact that diabetes prevention and awareness campaigns could have in the area.

In Australia alone, diabetes is responsible for 4,000 fatal heart attacks and strokes each year. In India, which has the largest number of individuals with diabetes, more than 150,000 cardiovascular deaths are due to diabetes and in China, 70,000 cardiovascular deaths are due to diabetes.

Dr Alexandra Martiniuk, at The George Institute for International Health (which acts as the APCSC Secretariat) said, "This study from the APCSC demonstrates that diabetes is causing more deaths than previously realised. Our research has shown the reduction in deaths from heart disease and stroke that could be achieved if diabetes is accurately measured, monitored and controlled in this region."

APCSC researchers found that the fraction of deaths from heart disease, as a result of diabetes, reached up to 12% in certain countries (Tonga). High levels were also found in South Korea, Hong Kong and Thailand (over 8%). The study also showed that diabetes causes a high percentage of stroke-related deaths (both haemorrhagic and ischaemic) in Tonga (12%), South Korea and Hong Kong (8%)

Researchers used recent data on diabetes from more than half a million adult participants in the APCSC to determine the risks for heart disease and stroke attributable to diabetes. The APCSC is the largestever partnership and study of cardiovascular disease in the Asian region. Project partners include many medical institutions across the Asia Pacific region. The collaboration's primary goal is to provide direct, reliable evidence about the determinants of stroke, coronary heart disease, and other common causes of death in Asia-Pacific populations. It aims to produce region-, age- and gender-specific estimates of the cardiovascular disease risks associated with blood pressure, cholesterol, diabetes and other major risk factors.

Emma Orpilla | EurekAlert!
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