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Authorities launch diabetes awareness campaign

The Swiss health authorities have launched a campaign aimed at raising awareness about diabetes and its economic as well as social impacts on Swiss society.

This content was published on November 12, 1999 - 17:57

The Swiss health authorities have launched a campaign aimed at raising awareness about diabetes and its economic as well as social impacts on Swiss society.

With about 250,000 known diabetics and another 100,000 who may have the chronic illness but not know it, the federal health authorities consider diabetes as Switzerland’s No. 2 illness behind rheumatism.

The Federal Health Office and the Swiss Diabetes Society told a news conference in the capital Berne Friday that the new campaing was aimed at making people aware about the chronic illness and improve early detection.

Early detection of diabetes could significantly reduce the current annual treatment costs of about SFr5 billion ($3.2 billion), the experts told journalists.

The authorities conceded that, despite the massive impact of the illness on diabetics themselves, their families and society in general, not enough has been done at a national level to improve the situation.

The new campaign is primarily aimed at doctors and tries to raise their awareness about early detection.

A spokeswoman for the Federal Health Office said the government now also aims to better implement the so-called St. Vincent Declaration, which Switzerland co-signed more than ten years ago. The document spells out guidelines and makes recommendations about diabetes prevention and treatment.

About 90 percent of diabetics in Switzerland suffer from the mellitus type of the illness. Unless it is detected in time, patients run the risk of blindness, cardiac arrest, kidney problems or amputation.

Diabetes is also a leading cause of death in Switzerland, along with AIDS and breast cancer.

From staff and wire reports.

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