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Diabetes cases skyrocket in UAE, 1 in 11 adults affected

Saman Haziq/Dubai
Filed on November 14, 2019

(File)

Khaleej Times looks into the various services and initiatives UAE residents can avail.

Over 460 million people - one in 11 adults - now suffer from diabetes, the International Diabetes Federation (IDF) announced on Thursday. It is estimated that 19 per cent of the population in the UAE suffers from diabetes.

According to IDF, by 2020, an estimated 32 per cent of the adult population (age 20-79) in the UAE, including both UAE nationals and expatriates, may have diabetes or prediabetes over the next decade, if present trends continue.

The IDF said the report shows an increase of 38 million cases globally, over its previous survey in 2017 and noted that "more than half (50.1 percent) of adult sufferers (are) undiagnosed."

In the UAE, Landmark Group commissioned a survey titled Study on the prevalence of diabetes and ways of managing the condition - and it was found close to 60 per cent of people between the age of 25 and 34 agree that they would struggle to recognise if they were suffering from hyperglycemia (high blood sugar) or hypoglycemia (low blood sugar).

However, the good news - 55 per cent of adults in the UAE encourage their families to be healthy and 82 per cent, emphasised the need for improved awareness on the condition to ensure effective diagnosis and prevention of any complications.

Yet, 46 per cent of the surveyed agree that they lead a sedentary lifestyle and have a poor diet. IDF head Nam H Cho said in a statement on the occasion of World Diabetes Day that the disease "is a serious global health issue that has a huge socio-economic impact that cannot be ignored".

"The rising prevalence of diabetes is a real cause for concern, especially when we consider the high number of people who remain undiagnosed," Cho added.

With these shocking statistics of skyrocketing numbers of cases, Khaleej Times looks into the various services and initiatives UAE residents can avail to curb the world's number one killer.

Measures taken by Dubai to curb diabetes

The UAE is among the top 10 countries with high prevalence of diabetes in the world, which is why raising awareness about the disease and the importance of leading a healthy lifestyle is essential.

"In order to meet the national agenda of reducing diabetes prevalence in the country from 19 per cent to 16.4 per cent by 2021, there is a need to make the public aware about the importance of healthy eating and regular exercise," said Dr Fatheya Al Awadi, head of endocrinology department at Dubai Hospital and head of the DHA Diabetes Committee.

The Dubai Health Authority launched a number of initiatives that will help prevent complications due to diabetes.

Diabetes Registry

Dr Awadi said among these initiatives is the 'Diabetes Registry', which has been developed in-house by the DHA diabetes committee, the IT department and the DHA electronic medical record team (Salama). "The registry captures complete details of every diabetic patient that visits any of the DHA health facilities. It is a tool that helps us get accurate information about diabetics in Dubai. We can then use this data to see whether there is an increase in the number of diabetics and tailor-make management strategies accordingly," she said.

Joint clinics

The DHA's hospital also introduced joint clinics for diabetics with complications to ensure they receive highest level of multidisciplinary care and for their convenience. "The joint clinic is the first-of-its kind initiative in Dubai. They provide an opportunity for diabetics to visit multiple healthcare experts at the same time rather than taking several appointments, which is time-consuming and inconvenient," she said.

For pregnant women who are diabetic or have gestational diabetes, a joint clinic was established where they can visit obstetrician and endocrinologist together.

Similarly, the DHA has introduced two new joint clinics in Dubai Hospital. The first clinic is a joint clinic with nephrologists and endocrinologists for diabetics with kidney problems. This clinic takes place on a monthly basis.

saman@khaleejtimes.com


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