A big waist circumference is a risk factor for type 2 diabetes.

"An estimated 400,000 Belgians have type 2 diabetes and they don't know"

The diabetes league has issued a stark warning: an estimated 1.14 million Belgians have type 2 diabetes and one third isn't even aware of it. The organisation issued new figures and sounds the alarm. Type 2 diabetes, which you often get as a result of getting older, is an underestimated disease. 

Type 2 diabetes can cause problems with blood vessels, nerves, eyes and feet and may trigger kidney problems, blindness and heart failure. "1 in 10 Belgian have diabetes, but 1 in 3 does not know it." 

Belgium's Diabetes Liga calls on all those above 45 to calculate their risk on the website Gezondheidskompas of the Flemish government. The questionnaire includes questions about risk factors or things that may help you avoid type 2 diabetes, such as smoking, waist circumference, taking physical exercise (or the lack of it), eating vegetables and fruit each day, your age etc. 

Arnout Wouters, director of the Diabetes Liga, calls the figures "worrying". "Most of the people are not aware they have type 2 diabetes and only find this out via other underlying problems. Type 2 diabetes is a slowly progressing disease. The lack of physical exercise and unhealthy eating habits are triggering higher figures, also among younger people."

It is crucial to get an early diagnosis. "When it is discovered in time, you can adapt your eating habits and lifestyle. Medication can also help. Type 2 diabetes is particularly dangerous when nothing happens." 


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