Epidemiology of Diabetes Mellitus
1992 Vol.8 NO.12
Changes in the economic conditions in Taiwan Area in the past 30 years have also brought about significant changes in disease patterns. Chronic diseases have now become major threats to the lives of the people. Since 1982, cerebrovascular diseases and malignant neoplasms have become the leading causes of death, and of all causes of death due to chronic diseases, diabetes mellitus has increased rather rapidly. Analysis of vital statistics by Lin, et al. in 1992 shows that the mortality rate of diabetes mellitus for male has increased from 3.32 per 100,000 population in 1960 to 17.84 in 1988; for female, from 4.05 to 30.01 in the same period(1). Figure 1 shows that the trend of diabetes mellitus mortality has gone up sharply in the last ten years. Table I again shows that diabetes mellitus has become more a major threat to life in the past decades. A study by Tokuhata in 1975, however, reveals that only 26% of those who have died of diabetes mellitus are listed diabetes mellitus as the direct cause of death on their death certificates(2). Another study by Bill, et al. also shows that of those who have history of diabetes mellitus, only 38% are listed diabetes mellitus as either direct or indirect cause of death on their death certificates(3). A study of the seriousness of diabetes mellitus through the analysis of death certificates, therefore, is likely to underestimate the problem(4). On the other hand, diabetes mellitus is a major cause of vascular diseases, renal failure, amputation of lower limbs and blindness(5,6). The increase of diabetes patients may pose problems to the use of medical care resources, the social welfare programs and the health of the younger generations. There, however, is not yet a cure for diabetes mellitus. The prevention effort thus becomes very important. The present report intends to review some of the likely causes a diabetes mellitus.