Rise of diabetes causes concern

ABU DHABI - Experts have warned of the alarming increase of diabetes among the different categories of population in the UAE over the past two decades.

By Nada S. Mussallam

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Published: Sat 17 Apr 2004, 12:02 PM

Last updated: Thu 2 Apr 2015, 1:02 PM

Discussing the spread of the diabetes mellitus in the society on Wednesday evening at a medical symposium, doctors have expressed their concern over the health complications associated with the chronic disease.

The symposium, which was attended by a large number of healthcare providers at different hospitals and health facilities in the capital, was organised by the Continuous Medical Education (CME) Committee at the General Health Authority for the Emirate of Abu Dhabi (GHAS), to discuss means of preventing and reducing the health complications related to the disease, such as heart attack, kidney failure and blindness.

"Diabetes represents a big challenge not only in treating the disease, but mostly in averting the serious health problems associated with it, which greatly affects vital organs of patients, including heart, brain, arteries, kidney and eyes of diabetic persons," said Dr Wael Al Muhameed, Consultant Cardiologist and CME's Chairman while addressing the symposium. He said 80 per cent of diabetic patients lost their lives due to heart problems they develop as complications of diabetes.

Citing a recent survey conducted on 6,609 persons in the age group of 20 years old to detect the prevalence of diabetes in the UAE society, Dr. Muhameed said 19.6 per cent persons, were tested positive with type II diabetes and 15.2 per cent were suffering type I diabetes.

In type I diabetes, the pancreas fails to produce insulin, this type mainly affects children and adolescents, but is increasingly affecting adults, while Type II diabetes results form the body's inability to respond properly to the action of insulin and it occurs almost entirely in adults.

Dr Muhameed recommended that in order to reduce the impact of the health hazards related to the disease, diagnostic methods should be upgraded in accordance with the 'ABC' diagnostic programme adopted by the American Association of Diabetes.

"This programme, which caters for checking up three major things; the level of sugar in the blood, which should be less than seven per cent, the blood pressure that is recommended to be maintained at less than 130/80, and cholesterol level, should be implemented thoroughly to avoid the rise of any of the diabetes complications," stressed Dr Muhameed.

He noted that doctors in the Arab and gulf countries, do not pay much attention to these tests, which he said could largely spare diabetic patients getting heart and vascular diseases.

"This programme should be introduced at all hospitals and medical institutions in the country, to enhance efforts undertaken to avoid morbidity and mortality associated with the epidemic," said Dr Muhameed.

According to recent statistics,diabetes in the UAE affects over 24 per cent of the adult population in the country. In 2000, the prevalence of diabetes in the UAE society, was estimated at 17 per cent, according to a report released by the Central Preventive Medicine Department at the Ministry of Health.

There are more than 240 million people who suffer from diabetes mellitus in the world, and the number is expected to double in 2005 with expected increase in the developing countries, said the report.

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