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Thursday, April 14, 2016

UAE doctors team up against diabetes

  • According to the International Diabetes Federation (IDF), 415 million people suffer from diabetes globally, with over 35.4 million within the Mena region. Cases are expected to rise to 72.1 million by 2040, if action is not taken.

The UAE is among the nations with highest incidences of diabetes and that is why healthcare professionals are constantly looking at new strategies to combat the disease, which has been described as a silent killer by medical experts.

According to the International Diabetes Federation (IDF), 415 million people suffer from diabetes globally, with over 35.4 million within the Mena region. Cases are expected to rise to 72.1 million by 2040, if action is not taken.

Moreover, in 2014, there were a staggering number of 803,900 cases in the UAE, a definite cause of concern for doctors, dietitians and the society as a whole.
The IDF also reported that in 2015 there was over one million cases in the UAE, indicating a rapid and growing trend.

Doctors are thus urging residents to not only seek regular checkups, but also to take action quickly and vigorously. Dr Anna Burattin, consultant, en-docrinology, diabetes and metabolic disease at Burjeel Hospital, said the American Diabetes Association has set new guidelines for the medical care of diabetics for 2016. The guidelines aim to improve care among vulnerable populations based on ethnic, cultural, gender, family history and socio-economic differences. "There is a framework for the treatment of other conditions, including heart, kidney or eye diseases that affect diabetic patients.

"There are also guidelines for patients suffering from diabetes before and during pregnancy."

Doctors in the UAE have also highlighted that weight gain, stress, smoking, unhealthy eating habits and lack of exercise as causes of diabetes.Serious complications include hypertension, which has a prevalence of 42 per cent in the Middle East, nephropathy, heart failure, gum disease, skin problems, foot issues, stroke and even blindness.

Dr Nizar Attallah, staff physician, nephrology, Medical Subspecialties Institute at Cleveland Clinic Abu Dhabi, also highlighted that diabetes contributes to deadly complications and diseases, such as kidney failure. "It's essential to maintain a healthy diet and reduce sugar intake to avoid damaging your kid-neys," he added.

Doctors from Universal Hospital teamed up on Sunday and launched the 'Beating Diabetes' campaign, which will continue till April 24. Dr Nadir Dawood, specialist, in-ternal medicine and diabetologist, highlighted why it's critical to have regular checkups."

Early detection and treatment of diabetes can decrease the risk of developing further complications. "There are several ways to diagnose diabetes, each way usually needs to be repeated on a second day. The following symptoms of diabetes are typical. However, some people with type 2 diabetes have symptoms so mild that they go unnoticed."

"Urinating often, feeling very thirsty and hungry, extreme fatigue, blurry vision, cuts/bruises that are slow to heal, weight loss - even though you are eating more (type 1), tingling, pain or numbness in the hands/feet (type 2)."

Doctor Ahmad Al Khatib from Universal Hospital said that it is often ignored or overlooked by the society, and thus educating residents in the UAE is a fundamental aspect when it comes to combating the illness.

"It's all about changing the mindset of the communities. You can provide all the right tools and medical facilities, but if the society is not willing to make a change then what is the point," he asked.He noted that complications developed from diabetes range from cardiovascular disease to kidney failure.

"One of the worst things for a doctor to see is a patient who has to have his lower limbs amputated, because of a disease that could have been prevented."He pointed out that simple measures could immensely help pre-vent diabetes. "First of all, avoiding stress, maintaining a healthy diet and exer-cising regularly are most crucial. Just 150 minutes of exercise a week can protect someone from diabetes by 58 per cent," he added."

One needs to understand that his body is his greatest asset in life. Your health is your wealth."

/Khaleej Times.

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