THE number of people in Ireland diagnosed with diabetes will rise from 141,063 to 200,000 in just four years, an international conference in Dublin was told yesterday.
Professor John Nolan -- formerly of St James's Hospital, Dublin -- said it would be possible to slow down the rate of the increase if we followed the example of countries such as Finland.
Denmark-based Prof Nolan, who was once one of the leading experts in diabetes here, said Finland had "done a lot with public transport and parks" to make it easier for people to exercise. Public education about diet, he said, had also helped the Finns achieve a significant turnaround.
He was speaking as world experts gathered for the conference, "Innovation in Diabetes -- a Global View".
Around 10pc of middle- aged and older Irish people had pre-diabetes and that was a key time to act before it developed into the full disease, he added.
However, there had to be better screening of people aged 40 to 75 to pick up the condition early. Rates of insulin-dependent diabetes were also rising.