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Dr Paola Salvetti...diabetic eye disease a real threat

Diabetes reaches record levels in Middle East: Experts

DUBAI, UAE , June 21, 2016

The Middle East suffers from the highest rate of diabetes in the world, affecting nearly 43 million people, and this is causing a rise in incidence of diabetes-related illness, health experts have warned.

The prevalence of the disease has risen from 6 per cent of the region’s population in 1980 to almost 14 per cent of adults over 18 years, in 2014, mostly because of rising Type 2 diabetes rates, due to excess body weight, physical inactivity and unhealthy diets, said the World Health Organisation.

In its first global report on diabetes, it revealed that the number of people living with the disease has almost quadrupled since 1980 to 422 million adults, with most living in developing countries.

The complications of diabetes include; heart attack, stroke, blindness, kidney failure and lower limb amputation.

Diabetes is a chronic disease that occurs either when the pancreas does not produce enough insulin – the hormone that regulates blood sugar – or when the body cannot effectively use the insulin it produces. High blood sugar levels are a common effect of uncontrolled diabetes and can eventually lead to serious damage of many of the body's systems, especially the nerves and blood vessels.

The majority of people with diabetes have Type 2 diabetes, in which the body cannot use insulin effectively. Symptoms of the disease may be diagnosed only several years after onset, once complications have started. Until recently, Type 2 diabetes was seen only in adults, but it is now seen increasingly in children.

Eye disease is one of the most serious and common complications of Type 2 diabetes. If left untreated, diabetic eye disease can lead to blindness. Cases of diabetic eye disease are becoming an increasing problem, health experts have warned.

Dr Paola Salvetti, consultant ophthalmologist and expert in medical retina at Moorfields Eye Hospital Dubai, commented: “Diabetic retinopathy is more likely to occur the longer the patient has had diabetes. During the first two decades of disease, nearly all patients with Type 1 diabetes and up to 60 per cent of patients with Type 2 diabetes have diabetic retinopathy.” 

According to a Moorfields study specific to the United Arab Emirates, diabetic retinopathy is more common in men than women with diabetes, and increases with age and disease duration. Notably, as many as 74 per cent of people with diabetes may not be aware that they have eye disease.

“Diabetic retinopathy is directly linked to control of blood glucose levels. Diabetes is a chronic disease but with attention to diet, exercise and control of associated risk factors (such as hypertension – high blood pressure), it can be controlled and the risk of complications reduced. Even a simple daily walk can help. Moorfields recommends an annual eye examination for all people with diabetes who don't have any complications, and more frequently if the patient has active diabetic retinopathy that may require treatment,” added Dr Salvetti. –TradeArabia News Service




Tags: Diabetes | rate | record | Middle | East |

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