Thousands join ‘Walk UAE’ to fight diabetes

ABU DHABI - Thousands of people joined the ‘Walk UAE 2010’, held at the Yas Marina F1 circuit in Abu Dhabi to spread awareness about the growing number of diabetic cases in the country, on Friday evening.

By Anwar Ahmad

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Published: Sun 28 Nov 2010, 12:33 AM

Last updated: Mon 6 Apr 2015, 4:12 PM

The fourth annual walkathon was organised by the Imperial College London Diabetes Centre (ICLDC) as part of its health awareness campaign under the patronage of Shaikha Fatima bint Mubarak, Chairwoman of the UAE General Women’s Union and of the Family Development Foundation.

The fast food culture and sedentary lifestyle are blamed for the rising number of youth and children in the country getting afflicted by the disease.

Shaikh Khalifa Medical City (SKMC) and Mafraq Hospital have come together to organise the ‘Excellence in Diabetes and Endocrinology’ conference here as part of the efforts to combat the disease. The conference, which started on Thursday, is concluding today.

According to Mafraq Hospital, around 20 per cent of the expatriates in the country have diabetes and nationals constitute 25 per cent of the diabetic patients.

The worrying factor is the increasing number of children who have the disease. Around 20-30 children out of 100,000 people in the country have Type 1 diabetes. There were no exact statistics available for children as the studies are going on.

Balanced food, proper exercise and early detection can curb the growing number of diabetic patients in the country, experts said.

Talking to Khaleej Times on the sidelines of the conference on Friday, Dr Asma Deeb, consultant paediatric endocrinologist at Mafraq Hospital, said it is important to highlight the fact that prevalence of diabetes in the UAE is very high.

“We need to educate not only the public but also the medical community. It’s the role of SKMC and Mafraq Hospital to promote medical education and encourage such valuable platform to exchange and share experiences, craft solution and form lasting relationship with international medical centres and organizations,” Dr Deeb said.

According to a recent report, more than 400,000 people in the UAE may be suffering from diabetic nerve pain, making it a costly healthcare problem for the country, according to experts in pain management. With diabetes reported to affect up to one-fifth of the adult population in the UAE, around 409,500 out of 1.6 million diabetics are at a high risk of having severe nerve pain. This condition, known as ‘painful diabetic peripheral neuropathy’, is caused by damage to the nerves as a result of raised and uncontrolled blood glucose levels, which is common among diabetics.

It presents either as a burning pain, numbness or tingling in one or more of the limbs and research has shown that it affects around 26 per cent of Type-2 cases.

The three-day conference targeted endocrinologists, diabetologists, general internal physicians, paediatrician, primary care doctors, clinical pharmacists, senior nurses, pharmacists and dieticians. More than 200 individuals attended the conference.

The conference accredited for 15 hours of continual medical education (CME) comprised 13 difference sessions. Experts from Libya, Denmark, the UK, the USA, Saudi Arabia, Kuwait and Bahrain are leading the sessions.

Physicians from SKMC, Mafraq, Corniche and Tawam hospitals coming under SEHA in Abu Dhabi and other hospitals and clinics of Abu Dhabi and Dubai are attending the conference.

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