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Chinese suffering from a rise in "nobleman diseases"

David Gray / Reuters

A diabetes patient has his mouth photographed for records before seeing diabetes specialist at the Guanganmen Chinese medicine Hospital in Beijing.

In 30 years, the Chinese people have gone from having barely enough to eat to worrying about spreading waistlines, leaving the healthcare system struggling to keep up with an exponential rise in "nobleman diseases" like diabetes.

"In the last 20 years, diabetes has developed a lot, but it's only now showing up in the medical system," said Dr Tong Xiaolin, vice director of the Guanganmen Hospital in Beijing, who sees dozens of patients during Monday office hours.

Diabetes afflicts nearly 10 percent of Chinese adults - roughly the same proportion as in the United States - up from 1 percent in 1980.

--Reuters

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David Gray / Reuters

A diabetes patient has her blood pressure taken as another patient is checked by diabetes specialist Doctor Tong Xiao Lin at the Guanganmen Chinese medicine Hospital in Beijing on March 19.

David Gray / Reuters

A diabetes patient sits in a wheelchair, under a drawing of an old Chinese medical scholar, as she waits in a corridor of the Guanganmen Chinese medicine Hospital to see a diabetes specialist.

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