The Ministerio de Salud urged citizens to adopt healthy lifestyles in commemoration of World Diabetes Day Wednesday.
While the health ministry cited data indicating that the mortality rates of the disease are going down, officials in an announcement from the ministry still called on people to be vigilant.
Diabetes mellitus is a medical disorder in which a hormone called insulin loses its ability to regulate the amount of the sugar glucose in the blood stream. Glucose can be poisonous in high doses.
Although genes cause or at least play a role in the disease, most cases are caused by years without a healthy diet and exercise regimen.
The ministry’s announcement said that almost 8,100 new cases of diabetes were diagnosed in Costa Rica last year. 56 percent of those diagnosed were women and 50 percent were also between the ages of 45 and 64.
About 44 children under the age of 15 were diagnosed last year as well.
689 Costa Ricans died of complications directly related to diabetes last year, a rate of 11.74 per 100,000 people. The ministry also included data showing that the rate of death from the disease is going down.
Ministry officials admitted that the death rate is low, but they also said that diabetes can factor into other diseases and complications, especially heart diseases.
The announcement said that the highest rates of diabetes are in Alajuela and San José with about 188 and 154 cases per 100,000 people respectively.
To prevent the disease, ministry officials recommend that individuals cut down on sugar, fat and carbohydrates, consume more fruits and vegetables, drink eight glasses of water per day, and exercise regularly.