Diabetes on the rise among UAE youth
Dubai, November 23, 2013
With the UAE among the world’s 'Top 10' countries most affected by diabetes, medical experts have warned that a change of mindset is needed as diabetes is now very much a disease of the young, and not just 'senior citizens.'
The UAE patients are being diagnosed with diabetes up to 20 years earlier than their counterparts in other countries, and 34 million people have been affected across the region.
Doctors raised the alarm after patients were diagnosed with diabetes at an ever-decreasing age. It is no longer unusual in the UAE to find children with the type of diabetes which is otherwise more commonly seen in adults. Unfortunately they begin their lives at much younger age, already burdened by the disease.
Underlining the dangerous lack of health awareness, the overwhelming majority of the UAE population remains unaware of their blood pressure, blood sugar levels or Body Mass Index (BMI).
To remedy this situation, Al Zahra Private Hospital Dubai has embarked on an intensive life-saving awareness drive to mark World Diabetes Day, November at Al Zahra Auditorium.
Freeblood sugar levels and risk screenings were provided for three consecutive days for the public,as well as, general checkup including blood pressure and BMI assessment. Visitors received important tips on how to minimize their risk of diabetes in addition to extensive diet and lifestyle advice.
Commenting on the UAE’s worrying diabetes situation, endocrinologist Dr Vikram Hundia of Al Zahra Private Hospital Dubai said: "Lifestyles in the UAE now follow a similar pattern to other advanced countries, with lack of regular exercise, worsened by diets rich in sugar and trans-fats. The fact that many youth also smoke certainly doesn’t help matters."
"Our institution, however believes that there is hope to reverse the trends and reduce the burden of diabetes. We are helping to change the mindsets so that youths don’t wait to get seriously ill before visiting a hospital. Raising awareness, regular screenings and health check-ups for population at higher risk of diabetes may help with earlier detection and prevention of this condition," he added.
Dr Hundia is well-placed to give comparisons between the UAE situation and Western countries, as he has previously worked in the UK as endocrinologist. With several articles and poster presentations in respected international journal and meetings, Dr Hundia is part of the institution’s goal to give the public world-class advice to turn the tide against diabetes.
The awareness event featured the “together we meet the challenge” health talk by Dr Hundia followed by a Question and Answer session in which the public had their most pressing concerns addressed.
Free educational materials were shared to give visitors a reliable long-term source of tips and advice.
What makes the situation particularly critical for diabetes patients is that the disease does not only affect the endocrine system, the complications can also affect the heart and other vital organs. In addition, diabetes patients face 10 times higher risks of amputations.
However there is renewed hope for UAE patients, given the state-of-the-art diagnostic and treatment facilities at institutions such as Al Zahra Private Hospital Dubai.
Despite a new diabetes-related death and new diagnosis being recorded every 10 seconds, many diabetics remain unaware that they have it until it is too late, and therefore the public is urged to get free screenings at the awareness event.-TradeArabia News Service