Epidemiologic study of type 2 diabetes in Taiwan

Chih Jen Chang, Feng Hwa Lu, Yi Ching Yang, Jin Shang Wu, Ta Jen Wu, Muh Shy Chen, Lee Ming Chuang, Tong Yuan Tai

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99 Citations (Scopus)


Diabetes mellitus (DM) in adults is a global health problem, although its prevalence varies widely between different populations and the rate has generally increased worldwide. In Taiwan, the mortality rate from DM has almost doubled over the past 10 years. The prevalence of DM in Taiwan was established between 1985 and 1996 and the rates were between 4.9 and 9.2%. The prevalence of impaired glucose tolerance (IGT) was 15.5% (men 15% and women 15.9%). The prevalence of DM and IGT increased significantly with age for both genders. The significant factors associated with newly diagnosed DM were age, BMI, family history of DM, systolic blood pressure (hypertension), physical activity and serum triglyceride levels. The prevalence of large vessel disease (LVD) in DM and non-diabetic subjects were 20.0 and 12.9%, respectively. Among diabetics, 15.8% had ischemic heart disease (IHD), 1.7% leg vessel disease (leg VD), and 2.5% stroke. In non-diabetics, the prevalence of the aforementioned macroangiopathies were 11.5, 0.2 and 1.2%, respectively. The diabetics had a significantly higher prevalence of macrovascular disease than non-diabetic subjects. The most significantly associated with the LVD was serum cholesterol levels. Serum cholesterol and HbA1(c) were significantly associated with the development of IHD. Cigarette smoking and female gender were significantly associated with the leg VD. The prevalence of diabetic retinopathy (DR) was 35.0%. (background DR 30%, preproliferative DR 2.8% and proliferative DR 2.2%, respectively.) The prevalence of DR for previously and newly diagnosed diabetics were 45.2 and 28.3% (men 42.8 vs. 33.3% and women 47.5 vs. 24.8%), respectively. From multiple logistic regression analysis, duration of DM was the most important risk factor related to DR. Diabetic subjects treated with insulin had a higher risk of developing retinopathy than those treated with dietary control. The prevalence of nephropathy and neuropathy were 12.9 and 23.5%, respectively. For those patients with and those without nephropathy and neuropathy, the duration of DM, percentage of insulin treatment, percentage of hypertension, and fasting plasma glucose were significantly different. Diabetic duration, hypertension, insulin treatment and glycemic control consistently correlated with nephropathy and neuropathy. In conclusion, the prevalence of DM in Taiwan was between 4.9 and 9.2%, and the prevalence of IGT was 15.5%. The possible risk factors of newly diagnosed diabetes were age, family history of DM, BMI, SBP (hypertension), physical activity and triglyceride levels. Diabetes in Chinese subjects share many characteristics similar to other Asian populations. The burden imposed by the chronic complications of diabetes is massive. In Taiwan, the mortality rates from DM have increased greatly over the past 10 years. Reduction of the modificable risk factors such as BMI, hypertension and dyslipidemia, and increase of physical activity and good glycemic control through public health efforts may help to reduce the risk of DM and its chronic complications. (C) 2000 Elsevier Science Ireland Ltd.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)S49-S59
JournalDiabetes Research and Clinical Practice
Issue numberSUPPL. 2
Publication statusPublished - 2000 Oct

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Internal Medicine
  • Endocrinology, Diabetes and Metabolism
  • Endocrinology


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