The CDU Bundestag member, who is a member of the Health Committee and who himself has insulin-dependent type 2 diabetes, is pleased that “the No. 1 non-communicable disease” is receiving so much media attention:
“Type 2 diabetes is the most widespread noninfectious disease. It is a lifelong condition affecting all aspects of everyday life. Despite modern medical measures that enable a relatively normal life, the causes of diabetes are insufficiently known and are urgently in need of further research.”
Worldwide about 415 million people are affected – with rising tendency
“By 2040, experts anticipate a worldwide increase of more than 600 million people with diabetes. It will be a global challenge to provide all these people with sufficient insulin, diabetes medication, and hygienic blood glucose measuring and control devices,” Monstadt went on to say. He is a member of the Bundestag Health Committee from the CDU/CSU parliamentary group and reports on diabetes and obesity.
Aware of this responsibility, the World Health Organization (WHO) has issued a directive with the primary aim of educating the public: What are the causes of diabetes? How can these be counteracted? What should one do when diagnosed with diabetes? All of these questions need to be answered to mitigate the often unfounded fears regarding the disease.
“Awareness must be raised regarding this issue. In more than one fourth of all people with diabetes, the disease goes undetected. If, for example, hypoglycemia symptoms are not known, it is difficult to get help quickly,” Monstadt added.
So far, only 18 EU member states have implemented this directive in the form of a national diabetes strategy or a national diabetes plan. Germany is not among these.
“In Germany, diabetes – in particular type 2 diabetes – is considered to be a disease among people with poor dietary habits who do not exercise at all. We finally have to break away from this social stigmatization and marginalization and view diabetes, just like obesity, where it belongs – in the middle of society, where the incidence is already high,” said Monstadt. The CDU Bundestag member continued: “The affected people suffer most from the false perception of their disease.”
People with diabetes are becoming more and more frequent: “By 2020 there will be almost 20 million people affected by diabetes in Germany. We urgently need a national diabetes strategy to impede this diabetes tsunami.”
For many years Monstadt has been advocating such a “Diabetes Master Plan”.
Even in his adopted home state of Mecklenburg-Vorpommern, which will soon have a population that is older than in any other state, the incidence of diabetes is steadily increasing: “Demographic change is accelerating the increase in diabetes cases. Elderly people are more affected by type 2 diabetes than younger people, although the incidence of type 1 diabetes, which is not due to dietary habits or behavior, is increasing among this latter age group,” said Monstadt.
In his speech, Monstadt welcomed the choice of theme for World Health Day 2016: “Diabetes is treatable – this should be clear to all our fellow citizens and the high and increasing number of people affected by the disease. World Health Day can contribute to this general understanding – an important step towards a national diabetes strategy and to education about the disease and the treatment and control of diabetes,” said Monstadt.