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One in 20 Belgians has diabetes

Published on 06/05/2004

6 May 2004

BRUSSELS – One in 20 Belgian people has diabetes, although many sufferers are unaware that poor diet and a lack of exercise can cause the disease, it was reported on Thursday.

A new study by the INRA polling agency found that 5 percent of Belgian people suffer from diabetes and that a significant number have the type 2 version of the disease, which is linked to overeating and a sedentary lifestyle.

The study found that while seven out of ten Belgians know that diabetes is a serious disease, only slightly more than half of them (56 percent) know what causes the illness.

Type 1 diabetes is a congenital condition that usually manifests itself at an early age. People with type 1 diabetes cannot produce insulin, a hormone that controls how the body absorbs sugars.

Type 2 diabetes, the more common form of the disease, usually develops later in life and is classically linked to obesity and a sedentary lifestyle.

Both forms of the illness cannot be cured but can be treated effectively with a combination of insulin and a carefully controlled diet.

If untreated, diabetes can cause blindness, circulatory problems, coma and even death.

[Copyright Expatica 2004]

Subject: Belgian news