Diabetics are often older, overweight males

23/03/2010 15:00

Last year, 4 percent of people in the Netherlands were diabetic patients. Among them are more older, male and overweight people than among non-diabetics. They also more often use walking aids like canes, rolling walkers or mobility scooters and more frequently consult their GPs and medical specialists.

4 percent diagnosed with diabetes

Diabetes mellitus, often simply referred to as diabetes is a common chronic disorder. The proportion of diabetics in the population rose from 3 percent in 2001 too 4 percent 2009.

Male, 63 years of age, lower-educated

In the period 2001–2009, diabetics were on average 63 years old, which is far beyond the average age of 38 for the Dutch population as a whole. More men than women suffer from diabetes and their level of education is usually below average. They live in urban rather than in rural areas. With a prevalence of 6 percent, diabetes is more frequent among Dutch with a Surinamese background.

Diabetes (0 years or older), 2001/2009,

Diabetes (0 years or older), 2001/2009,

More often overweight, but less often heavy drinkers

The average diabetic patient is overweight. Two thirds of diabetics are overweight versus 45 percent of non-diabetics. Diabetics less often ((44 percent) comply with the Standard for Healthy Exercise than non-diabetics ((55 percent). Just over one quarter of diabetics are smokers, the same percentage as for non-diabetics, but fewer diabetic patients are heavy drinkers, i.e. 9 percent versus 11 percent of non-diabetics.

Diabetes by health symptoms, 2001/2009

Diabetes by health symptoms, 2001/2009

Diabetics suffer from sight and foot problems

Diabetes may affect the eyes and cause foot problems. Still, diabetics do not wear glasses or contact lenses more often than non-diabetics. Foot problems become manifest in the more frequent use of medical aids, like canes, rolling walkers, wheelchairs or mobility scooters among diabetics. They also require orthopaedic shoes twice as often as non-diabetics.

Diabetics (12 years or older) by use of aids, 2001/2009

Diabetics (12 years or older) by use of aids, 2001/2009

More consultations with GP, medical specialist and physiotherapist

Diabetics consult GPs and medical specialists about twice as often as non-diabetics. They also more frequently consult a physiotherapist. Diabetics do not go more often to a dentist than people who do not suffer from diabetes.

Marieke Houben - van Herten