The number of diabetics has increased by half a million over the past five years, bringing the total number to more than 2.5 million across the country, according to the National Health Insurance Service on Tuesday.
Some 7.3 percent of adults over 30 are receiving treatment for diabetes. Diabetes heightens the risk of complications like retinal diseases or renal failure.
The rate of diabetes increases rapidly among those in their 40s. Men in their 50s account for the largest proportion, or 30 percent (400,000), of the total and women in their 60s take up the largest proportion, or 28 percent (320,000).
If the current trend of a rapid increase in the number of diabetics among the middle-aged, one in every 10 people in their 30s and older will suffer diabetes by 2020.
The major reasons for diabetes are aging, obesity, lack of exercise, excessive intake of sugar, and stress. The number of patients with diabetic complications, which occur as a result of diabetes damaging nerves and blood vessels, has also increased 26 percent over the past five years to about 840,000.
One out of every seven patients with diabetes was treated for complications last year.
Dietary self-management and exercise programs are important to prevent diabetes and control blood glucose levels.