Diabetes mellitus, which was once considered a disease of the developed world, has become a worldwide pandemic, with two thirds of the global diabetic population living in the developing countries. Local studies show a definite upward trend in the prevalence of diabetes mellitus. The earliest available study on a rural community in 1990 reported a prevalence of 2.5%. The largest-ever study on the diabetes prevalence in Sri Lanka was published in 2005. It showed a prevalence of 14.2% among males and 13.5% among females.
The World Health Organisation and the International Diabetic Federation estimates and forecasts are much lower than the available local prevalence rates, and what may be predicted from the prevalence rates in South India. Further research is necessary to investigate the exact underlying mechanisms for the South Asian epidemic. Wider preventive programmes need to be urgently implemented to stem the tide.
How to Cite:
Katulanda, P., Sheriff, M. and Matthews, D., 2009. The diabetes epidemic in Sri Lanka – a growing problem. Ceylon Medical Journal, 51(1), pp.26–28. DOI: http://doi.org/10.4038/cmj.v51i1.1373